ronald koertge | men watch football because they are lonely for other men

Ronald Koertge | Illustration by Charles Bukowski

Ronald Koertge | Illustration by Charles Bukowski


They would like to wear real uniforms. They would
like to get knocked down, then get up and pat each
other on the ass. They would like to look into
the stands and imagine women there who admire prowess
and guts, women who might meet them at the players’
gate afterwards, who might give them the time of their
lives and then vanish.

But they are just as happy trotting into the locker
room. They like to be fussed over by the trainer
and coach. They like to see the other guys horsing
around in their towels.

They are not homosexual. They do not understand
homosexuality. They do not like their own bodies
and cannot imagine caressing another one.

It is the locker room where no one is ashamed
of the beer gut, the missing teeth, the bald spot.
At home they spend hours sucking it in, combing
it over.

Women care what men look like though they are often
mean about beauty in their sisters. Looks are not
so important to men. If the quarterback is a god
they say, “It’s not his fault. Can he help it if he’s good looking?”

Men worry about their looks because they solicit
their wives for sex and they know women prefer
handsome devils. Too, they believe that women
do not like sex and – being mothers — probably
should not. They know women like to be wooed
and regularly invest in candles and champagne.

But nearly every man knows the difference between
his idea of a perfect evening and his wife’s. He
wants to watch her undress, watch her get her nipples
hard, then fuck her fast. He knows she wants to
wash her face and kiss goodnight saying, “Thank you,
honey,” which means thank you for not ruining it
with that thing.

Men watch football because they would like to live
and work with forty other men forever. They would
like to kick ass and get theirs kicked. They would like
to have injuries X-rayed and reported in the papers.
They hate taking Maalox and Excedrin. They hate the

Men watch football because when the end drops it
or the tackle fucks up, the team will eventually forget.
Until then, he sits in splendid isolation, head in hands
on nationwide t.v. Or he can compensate by snaring
the winning pass, decking the panzer back. At home
no one seems to forget. Last night’s, last week’s,
last month’s mistakes are worse than game films. Chances
for a big play are small to nil.

Men watch football because it reminds them of what
might have been. Young men think if it hadn’t been for
some bad breaks they could out-pussy Namath. Older
men are not so sanguine. They do not feel if the phone
rang they could go in. They cannot always handle
the longing of every Schlitz, dolor of chip and Frito
much less a bullet from some howitzer-armed rookie.

But they can watch the veterans, relentless specialists
coming in in every clutch, splitting the uprights,
penetrating the zone, lean and mean and deep in their
40’s, grey at the temples but probably more young stuff
than they can handle and $90,000.00 a yr., too.

From: SIX POETS, Vagabond Press 1979

John Bennett | Six Poets | Vagabound Press 1979

A Vagabond Publication, 605 E. 5th Ave., Ellensburg, WA 98926. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 78-65142 | ISBN: 0-912824-21-2 (c) 1979 John Bennett. Cover design by Cindy Bennett. Drawings by Charles Bukowski. Second edition.



“There are some writers whose work is difficult to comment upon without overstating their concerns or ideas. John Thomas is one of these writers.” So begins Paul Vangelisti’s introduction to Epopoeia and the Decay of Satire, Red Hill Press’ superb collection of Thomas’ poetry and short prose. Many of Thomas’ poems in Six Poets first appeared in the Red Hill Press collection, and rather than paraphrase Vangelisti or attempt my own summation of Thomas’ work, I’ll let the poems speak for themselves and strongly recommend that the reader purchase a copy of Epopoeia. It is available for $3.50 from Red Hill Press, 6 San Gabriel Dr., Fairfax, California 94930.


I started out writing poetry thinking it was important, and that being a poet was holy…I started out thinking writing groups were necessary, and reciting in public, exciting…! met a lot of people who were poets and not very holy, and people who were not poets and were not holy, either…I no longer need to go places, and reading scares the hell out of me, so I no longer do it. I have long periods of not writing poems. Sometimes I live poems/Sometimes I watch others live them.” BOOKS: It Isn’t Everything, Aldine Society of California; Slices, co-authored w/James Mechem, Grande Ronde Press; Three Drums for the Lady, Second Coming Press; If You Are Creative I Will Vanish, Zetetic Press; The Habit of Wishing, co-authored w/Rosemary Cappello & Joan Smith, Goldermood Press.


“Born April 22, 1940, and lived for eighteen years in South-Central Illinois. Attended the University of Illinois and the University of Arizona. Now teaching at City College in Pasadena.” BOOKS: The Father Poems, Sumac Press; 12 PHOTOGRAPHS OF YELLOWSTONE, Red Hill Press; My Summer Vacation, VCP Press; Meat, Mag Press; Men Under Fire, Duck Down Press; etc.


is–to be sure-widely published. Over 20 books, over 10 anthologies, and countless magazine publications. She’s prolific, and when she is good, she is very good.


Red Mountain, Agatha Christie & Love has been translated into German as Unter der Haut is available from the Maro Verlag, Bismarck Strasse 7 1/2, 8900 Augsburg, Germany. BOOKS IN ENGLISH: Red Mountain, Agatha Christie $ Love, Invitation to a Dying, An End to Pinball, and A Post Card from Europe, all from Vagabond Press; Broken Hips and Rusty Scooters, Lion’s Breath Press; due soon from Black Rabbit Press, Van Gogh’s Flowers.


is German born Canadian raised, and presently lives in San Francisco. Her book Done With Mirrors is available from Vagabond Press. She’s worked as art critic, Kelly Girl and captain’s mate. Like the other poets in this book, her talent remains largely and disturbingly unrecognized.

John Bennett | Six Poets | Vagabound Press 1979

Please Note: If you are interested in buying Six Poets, please contact John Bennett under his email adress: or please visit the Hcolom Press web page by clicking here…

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