Your Average Poet Writes a Poem for Super Bowl

Was going to photoshop a helmet on her, but she doesn’t deserve that.

“Youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman to recite poem before Super Bowl LV” – CNN, January 27

When Sunday comes we ask ourselves
Where can we find the football among these infinite channels?
Will we eat of wings (chicken) festooned in our flannels?
Now we’ve braved the telly of the beast.
We’ve learned that one team’s called The Chiefs.
Another be called The Buccaneers.
We hear there’ll be beers. Cheers.

And so we will gaze this Sunday upon the Bowl that is Super
And calculate downs and yardage earned in athletic pursuit.
Perhaps someone else do it; math’s not our strong suit.
We would much rather speak of a down that is touched
Like the lily caressed by the hushed
Morning dew that falls on the lea.
Or in this case, AstroTurf, apparently.

See the men now stride forth on that parallelogram of sport
And line up in formation, two sides, fighting ranks,
Like a military conflict, but with jocks, not tanks.
O pigskin connoisseurs! Proudly pumped up in pads!
Girding your gridirons, protecting your gonads!
Go forth! Foot the ball! Earn your millions! Make bones crunch!
Whereas I, like most poets, can ill afford lunch.

On quarterback! Kicker! On defendy guys, smooshers!
Relent not in your quest for football-ian supremacy!
Score extra point thingies. Show the foe zero clemency.
Even refs throw their hankies in unbridled elation!
Oh, I see, that’s a foul; now they give explanations.
“Penalty declined.” You can do that in pro sports?
I’m sorry, remind me, which team are we rooting for?

But while the Super Bowl can be periodically delayed,
It can never be defeated. The concept, not this game, I mean;
Someone has to win, either the red guys or the other team.
But the essence of Super Bowl? It prevails beyond Sunday,
This peak day of mega-sized, televised “running plays,”
A term that I picked up while Googling “football”
As I prepped for this poem and stress-sipped hard alcohol.

It’s to poetry we pass the intercepted sack
With an offside of awe for this Hail Mary-est of Bowls.
In a blitzing of words this fumbling spectacle we robe.
Lo, brawn and sweet lyric here meet at this junction;
We hope we don’t suffer a word-robe malfunction.
For millions of fans tune their ear to this ode;
Though more likely dash quickly to the commode.

But there may be some who will drink in such verse
Then after sit quietly without pestering their fiancés
And wonder what time is the part with Beyoncé.
We know that light verse at the Bowl’s controversial
When what the fans crave are the pricey commercials.
But when Sunday comes, one small poem will feel slight,
For the game goes on long,
Though there is always Bud Lite.
If only we’re brave enough to buy it.
If only we’re desperate enough to drink it.

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These Missed Details Will Change the Way You See These Classic 80s Films!

Eww, Ferris.

The Breakfast Club
If Vice-Principal Gleason seems especially irritable during Saturday morning detentions, it’s because he has been dealing all week with parents demanding censorship of controversial books. That’s why you’ll notice there are no copies of Judy Blume’s Forever on the bookshelves of the library.

Back to the Future series
One of the side-effects of frequent time travel is a change in body chemistry whereby one’s sweat smells increasingly like boiled ham. If you look closely, you can see the other characters wrinkling their noses in growing revulsion every time Marty and Doc time jump.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Located on the dresser in Ferris’s bedroom is an ointment labeled, “For treatment of condyloma acuminata,” commonly known as anal warts.

Top Gun
During one of the love scenes, you can clearly see Kelly McGillis mouthing to Tom Cruise, “Your tongue is like a day-old pancake.”

Say Anything…
When Diane Court visits her father in prison, she gives him a Waterman Carène E2 ballpoint pen. In prison parlance, receiving such a pen is code for “you will be strangled with a tube sock in the laundry room.”

The Return of the Jedi
As Emperor Palpatine is torturing Luke with Force lightning, you can clearly see that Darth Vader has the hiccups.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Jeff Spicoli’s undiagnosed dyslexia transforms Fast Times into a clear indictment of the California education system.

Sixteen Candles
When Jake Ryan pulls up in front of Samantha’s house in his Porsche 944, there is a flyer on his dashboard for the Crystal Heavens Way Community of God, suggesting that Jake’s primary interest in Samantha is to indoctrinate her into a cult.

The Fly
“Seth Brundle” is an anagram for “lush bed rent,” a hint to the viewer that the scientist’s dream was to take the earnings from patenting his teleportation device, retire and open a high-end luxury B&B, thus rendering his gooey demise that much more tragic.

Dead Poets Society
In West African culture, standing on a desk is considered a great insult, something the boys at Welton Academy would have learned in their Comparative Anthropology class. Therefore, the boys who remained seated as Mr. Keating leaves are actually displaying greater respect and admiration than those standing.

The Karate Kid
Daniel Larusso claims to be from Newark, New Jersey but actually speaks with a Long Island accent, which makes you wonder what’s actually true about Daniel Larusso—if that even is his real name…

Peter Venkman is never seen eating a fruit or vegetable. The resulting vitamin deficiency explains his somewhat languorous attitude, even when faced with ghosts/slime and the ravishing Sigourney Weaver.

At the time of its original release in 1984, the resemblance between Ross Murray and Kevin Bacon was remarked upon by viewers who knew Ross Murray in 1984.

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Major Toht has an impression of the Staff of Ra headpiece scarred into the palm of his hand, a detail you might have missed if your date had sent you out to the lobby for Twizzlers right at the time of the reveal, even though you had gone once already for popcorn and were therefore finding the plot generally hard to follow, especially with all the chewing.

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What’s Up? Docs!

Now that we’ve all watched every new show on Netflix, people are discovering that most video streaming services are like the basement level of old video stores on those nights when all the new releases were rented out. Thank goodness for documentaries, AKA podcasts with pictures. Here, then, are some hot docs for you to tell your friends you’ve added to your “watch” list and never get around to viewing.

Pretend It’s a Pastry
Oscar-nominated filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan directs and can’t stop himself from appearing in a series of interviews with Art Buchwald, the humorist and long-time Washington Post columnist who died in 2007. In a series of vignettes, the long-dead Buchwald strolls through the U.S. capital, visiting his favourite “haunts,” explaining how to “ghost” a party and sharing anecdotes about government “spooks.” A number of scenes are filmed before a live audience, which is ironic. The documentary title comes from Buchwald’s famous instructions to small children on how to smoke a cigar. In a surprise ending, Buchwald is shocked to learn that he hasn’t been syndicated the whole time!

What Th’? with John Watson
Known for his found footage and chronically late rent payments, independent filmmaker John Watson documents his day-to-day life as well as those of his fellow tenants, capturing their trials, tribulations and surprisingly frequent incidents of getting locked out of their apartments. Watson takes the mundane and makes it mundane with narration. But the viewer finds beauty in the banal in the same way that Watson finds his car keys in the bathroom sink: obviously there the whole time. Part of the pleasure of this docu-series is the wonder Watson finds in everyday things: the way a dog’s bark sounds like “Cap’n Crunch” (but not really); how a can opener can also be used to pound a nail (sort of); and how four years of film school can be profitable (although you still live in a crappy tenement). In short, we get to see the world through the eyes of a man who is truly childlike—namely, he wets the bed. Which he documents.

This documentary about red-green-blue television test patterns is described as “The Queen’s Gambit” of documentaries about red-green-blue television test patterns. What “Bird Box” did for Sandra Bullock in a blindfold, RGB does for red-green-blue television test patterns. If “The Tiger King” were about red-green-blue television test patterns, it would have been exactly like this documentary about red-green-blue television test patterns. “Bridgerton” is nothing like this documentary about red-green-blue television test patterns except for the occasional nude scene.

Based on a true story

Who Did This!
A raw and hard-hitting forensic investigation into who is responsible for making the inside of the Colgate toothpaste flip-cap so disgustingly gloopy. The documentary is a captivating study in accusations and denials, though some of us aren’t fooling anyone, Abby! Also features a fascinating sub-plot exploring the age-old question: why are there seven toothbrushes in the cup but only three people living in this house?

In this 2015 film, investigative journalist Max McMackelhone explores the seedy underbelly and the spotty upperbody of Olympic athlete Twizzler addiction. Going undercover as a 16-year-old Romanian female gymnast, the 250-pound McMackelhone does some quick talking to explain his full beard. He soon falls under the tutelage of Dr. Padraig Van Bommel, a Dutch athletic trainer who introduces McMackelhone to radical licorice therapy. Over time, Van Bommel exposes McMackelhone to higher and higher doses of salt in his licorice until McMackelhone is completely and utterly grossed out. In the wake of this documentary, the Russian Olympic team was banned for plying its athletes with performance-enhancing Pull-n-Peels, while McMackelhone went on to win silver in the uneven bars in Rio.

Chronicles the increasingly desperate attempts of a young woman to get mentioned in the column written by her boyfriend’s father. She is ultimately not successful.

Super Suds Me
Comedian Bailey Eisenheimer takes to the street in his mobile bathtub and invites people to scrub his back. Celebrity guests shower with Bailey and make jokes about “getting in a lather” and every possible innuendo related to the word “wet.” While seemingly a crude comedy show, the series becomes a profound commentary on North Americans’ inability to truly communicate, thanks to the entire proceedings being subtitled in Portuguese. Or could just be something wrong with my remote.

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But Ironically Not The Beatles

Kiss in my kloset

It’s a lousy time, in the middle of winter and a global pandemic, but we discovered this week that our house is infested with rock stars.

These things happen in older homes. When we first moved in 25 years ago, we noticed traces of opera singers in one corner of the basement, but we quickly eradicated it by fumigating the aria. About 10 years ago, we had a spot of ska behind the sofa and worried that it might develop into full-on reggae, but it turned out to be just a fad.

Rock stars are a whole other story. Left untreated, rock stars can lead to major structural and hearing damage. Once they get into your house, they’re hard to get rid of. I know people who’ve had Keith Richards for years, and if you get The Who in your house, forget it. You think, “That’s it, they’re gone,” but The Who keeps coming back and back over and over.

One of the worst rock stars you can get is Bob Mould because there’s absolutely nothing you can Husker Dü.

For the longest time, people used to find Prince in their pantries, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I haven’t had pantry Prince in years…

At any rate, I was nosing around in the back of a kitchen drawer last week, looking for a little self-respect, when I noticed a tiny Jon Bon Jovi. Dammit, you can seal your house up as tight as a drum and Jon Bon Jovi will still find his way through the smallest of cracks. And it doesn’t take much to keep Jon Bon Jovi alive, just the tiniest bit of moisture, hair gel maybe and, heck, he could even be livin’ on a prayer.

“Okay,” I thought, “I can get rid of Jon Bon Jovi with a little bleach on a Q-Tip.” But then, upon closer inspection, I found the whole wall behind the drawer was crawling with Fleetwood Mac.

This was a bigger problem than I anticipated. I called the exterminator.

“I’ve been expecting your call,” he said.

“Did someone tell you I had Fleetwood Mac?” I asked

“I’ve heard Rumours,” he replied.

He came over to take a look.

“Yup,” he said. He peered into the space and tried attracting the rock stars by waving a lighter flame over his head. “You’ve got all kinds of Fleetwood Mac. Look, you got Peter Green in the corner over there and you’re teeming with Christine McVie. There’s even a trace of Billy Burnette, which is very rare. I better give the house a full inspection.”

I was shocked at what he found. “Look at this,” he said in my living room. “Glitter and sequins here, some spandex residue and—uh-oh.” He prodded something in the corner with his VIP pass. “Just as I thought: groupie droppings.”

Sure enough, my whole living room was overrun with 70s-era rock bands. That explained why the television kept being thrown over the balcony.

He cut open a small space in the dining room wall. Inside we found Rick Springfield, Rick Wakeman from Yes, Rick Astley, Rick Danko of The Band. Rik Emmet of Triumph stuck his head out. “I can help,” he said.

“No thanks,” I replied. “All in all you’re just another Rick in the wall.”

I wasn’t too upset because these rock stars had obviously been around a long time and hadn’t been bothering me. I mean, it’s not like the house was ankle deep in ABBA.

But upstairs, the inspector found all kinds of rock stars I’d never even heard of. In the corner of the spare bedroom, he found Lil Nas X.

“Is there a lot?” I wondered.

“Just a Lil,” the inspector replied.

In another spot, I had Post Malone. “Too bad,” said the inspector. “If we’d caught this when it was Pre Malone, you would have been okay.”

I had The Weeknd in the attic. “That’s a shme,” I said. “What can I do?”

“Well,” said the inspector, “normally with these newer rock stars you would just wait until they go on tour, but this season’s not looking good for that. If you force them to live off music streaming revenue, they might starve to death, but there’s no guarantee.”

Ultimately, we decided to take drastic measures, and that was, ironically, to introduce Talking Heads. That’s right: we’re Burning Down the House.

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Haruki Murakami’s Fairy Tales

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

One day, a salaryman named Tatsuhiro receives a phone call from a stranger who calls herself Goldilocks. Her voice reminds him of a young woman named Sakura who was found murdered in a field when Tatsu was seventeen. Goldilocks tells him he must meet her at the apartment of the three bears, located in a highly populated sector of Tokyo. Tatsu packs an overnight bag for reasons he cannot explain and travels to the address. He rides an elevator down many floors and knocks on the door of the three bears, but there is no answer. He enters to find an empty room except for three chairs, three beds and three bowls of ramen on the floor.

More of my latest piece at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

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