Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pickup Speak

There are many things
one hears
between the bouncing of the basketball,
some are light, little notes
the player gives himself,
like "follow-through,"
or "box-out,"

most often,
these notes are during a bad day-
and quickly become "C'mon Billy!"
or they begin to blame their opponents,
"What the fuck, Collins!
Ease off me," they say,
calling a foul.

Then there are the point guards,
always the encouragers on offense,
saying "nice shot!" or "good re!"
to their teammates,
and also calling for a
"pick and roll," or "pick and pop."

And on defense it is the bigs,
warning "pick left,"
or "give him help,"
or "box out!"
to the guards who allow their man
to get into the paint and steal the rebound.

Then there are the Ray Allens of the court,
who run around endlessly,
whose defender the bigs on defense have to warn
of picks, whose point guard can no longer tell him
"nice shot!" because of the sheer energy it takes
to shout that so many times,
and Jesus Shuttlesworth
running around the court with those soft footsteps,
the only talking he does
when the ball kisses the net.