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Monday, March 26, 2007


by Just Kibbe

Bowling becomes us / we look the part
not half as old as we say we are
diseased obese & pleased to fool
around with fate and numbered lanes.
In fine soled shoes with wrists well braced
we face our pyramidly foe and stoop
or bow, then sweep our arm
                                                       first down
then up and back again to chase those pins
and splatter them.
                                   Each bowler is a soldier
with war face crying out / in victory
much like defeat.
                                   The real foe’s not in front of us.
It lurks in minds that mind too well
that think when thought is not a cure.
Those sounds are so inhuman
when they fail or fall or foul out
–– our face
contorts in shame: it does look good
to ridicule our pains
                                         before our teammates can.
Bowling becomes us / America is proud.
Our loyalty is to our balls and brand of beer
that’s cheap and tastes not like our lives.
With finger food and cigarettes
we feed the fight / the hype avenged
a piece of hope, a freedom gained.
Each soldier finds a place to stand
a chance to right the wrongs we’ve done
ourselves, those pins, each vacant night.
With two or three, the argument / It’s on
to finger, fist or palm our balls
off-center though they be / our barely legal
league minds blur of splits & sleepers, hooks & straights
a nudge, a wink & pink flamingo luck or love
could all end / without a perfect score.
To strike out . . . is a good thing
with thirty points a frame, and every game a loss
unless you rag & polish, dust & prey
some excuse – a ball, too drunk, the wet or dry
lane of the night – is conjured from the live décor
and leaves us down, not out, but hating
bowling pins, each Thursday night, the chants
You suck. I rock. It’s only practice league.

Just Kibbe believes in the power of words to transform lives. Words are not just concepts. They are cows to be milked, earth to be mined and cars to be driven around the world to any number of destinations. He is 29, lives in Tujunga and works as the editor for a local, weekly news magazine.