Fathers and Sons

Weekend Plans (1981)

“Knicks are on tonight, if you want to watch …? 


“Can we get some snacks?”

Gladly, gleefully he’d procure the elements 

while out on his Saturday errands

He maintained an eleven-year-old’s taste buds at fifty-three, 

and well into overtime.

Maybe Hot Fries, Flings, always Pepsi (always),

peanuts and maybe a Three Musketeers (or two) for himself

Pre-game I’d stretch for the tall glasses

from our kitchen’s 70’s green metal cabinets, 

fill with ice and slow-open the two-liter, 

drawing out the hisssssss like a long fuse

At eight we were ready for warmups, tuning in WOR-Channel 12

to hear Marv Albert’s gravelly 

“Welcome to Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks take on the ….”

How I loved hearing the starting lineups, 

how they saved each team’s best for last,

the stars of the show

For the jump ball we’d take our positions on the floor, 

he in front of his chair, 

me in front of the couch 

I’d fish the bag of Hot Fries for the reddest ones,

chase with gulps of Pepsi, letting 

the cubes rest against my lips, relieving,

and the crumbs coat my fingers spicy for licking 

Wet and stick my suction cup hoop to the beam

at the bottom of the steps, and role play along …

foul shots like Campy, who’d take the ball 

all the way back behind his head before catapulting it, 

and Big Bill Cartwright,

bowing his seven feet low to the ground 

before drawing all the way up, set, and … flick,

just the softest touch for a big man…

Michael Ray Richardson, the best for last, 

my favorite Knick, his finger roll, poetry, 

the way he turned his wrist over,

offering the ball up to the hoop like a supplicant’s prayer

Refills at half time, 

and by midway through the third,

I’d lay my head on his belly and tune in to the

transistor radio of the peanuts and the Pepsi jostling for position,

the best for last

all gurgles, bubbles popping,

a mad scientist’s laboratory, drowning out 

Marv Albert drawing out his Yessssssss like a long fuse, 

drifting me off to sleep 


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