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Guernseys of sackcloth and ashes

My Football Team Is Hopeless

My team's motto is 'Born to Disappoint'.
Well, it isn't really. But it ought to be.
We measure our losing streaks in decades.
Junior members ask grandparents when we last won.
There's more silver in my teeth
than in our trophy cupboard.
Gravestones bear witness to our only premiership.
Every year we leap for the heavens
and flop in the gutter.

Fortune despises us. Injury dogs our stars.
Battlers make the side week after week
while our best stagger about on crutches.
If King Lear ever turns to umpiring
he'll be assigned to our games.
Should some unhinged bookmaker
rate us hot favourites,
we are moral certainties to collapse on match day.
Our guernseys are of sackcloth and of ashes.

We are depressed.
We drink too much.
We eat too much — except those who threw
their false teeth at an umpire.
I told the president to register the club as a charity.
My membership is under review.
The members wonder why they do it.
I wonder why I do it.
Life's hard enough without this mob to fret about.
My football team is hopeless.

But sometimes, just sometimes, after the pundits
proclaim we'll be murdered, we go out and clean-up
some outfit of silverspooners, pampered creatures
who outspend us ten dollars to one, and play
like it's the Grand Final of Armageddon.

Then the defeats of all my seasons are lost,
left to stumble through the ragged forests
of our pennants, their naggings inaudible
above the pounding waves of our songs,
their sorrows forgotten in the rapture
of a winter's afternoon made now, and forever, ours.

Liniment Mist

I knew him from his glory days
when he flew along the wing
borne on gusts of adulation
and the ball seemed his alone
while opponents plodded at his heels
but now
clutching a morning paper
he shuffles across a road dusted with frost
his quick breaths making little white puffs
and he shivers
like those blonded girls in short skirts
who lingered on frigid evenings
in scented shrouds of liniment mist
outside the changing rooms of youth.

B. N. OakmanB. N. Oakman writes poetry and short fiction that appears in literary magazines, newspapers and anthologies. An academic economist, he lives in Central Victoria and has taught at universities in Australia and England.

Topic tags: Oakman, My Football Team is Hopeless, Liniment Mist, new australian poetry, eureka street poetry



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Existing comments

Delighted! I once played full-back at a Club that lost 36 games in a row. At the end of the season, I had more kicks than the rovers, and was awarded the "most improved" player, and presented with a Pelaco shirt. Glory.

Ray Franzini | 18 July 2008  


Ray | 23 July 2009  

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