Monday April 6th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the homestretch.

I know I haven't mentioned the Vancouver Canucks recently, but that's probably because they've had me holding my breath a whole lot. They played their third to last game of the regular season tonight and came away with a win, meaning they've got a very good chance of making the playoffs. A loss would not have been disastrous but... it would have been in that neighborhood.

Anyway. Going into tonight there were 11 teams fighting for 8 playoff spots in the Western Conference - now there are 9. Any of the bottom 5 teams could wind up on the outside looking in at this point. If the Canucks win either of their remaining games, they're in. If they lose both... they're going to need a little help.

They missed out on the playoffs last year, so it would be great if they force their way in this go around. All 4 of the other teams play tomorrow night so the situation might be a little clearer by the time Tuesday's post goes up.

Or just even more tense.


Almost there,
The end is in sight!
Can't you see?
You can trust that I'm right.

One more push
To reach the finish line;
Just that and
Then you will be mine...


Lakshmi Nambiar said...

The Homestretch
As I bent down to tie my laces my head was in a flurry of thoughts. This was it. The last race I'd ever race with Anne as my competitor. Over the years it had become a sort of pre-ordained thing- she always came first, with me as close second. Somehow she always managed to finish ahead of me. But not this time- no. I was determined that I would win this time. I had to do it at least once.

* * *

I stood there- my legs feeling like they had turned to lead- waiting for Coach to blow the whistle, hoping that at the last moment I'd be able to run. All sorts of crazy scenarios were running through my head now.
What if I trip?
"Ready?" he shouted.
I am going to fall and make a fool of myself.
I might even do a somersault when I hit the ground. God, that would be embarrassing.
And then he blew the whistle.
I began to run and at that moment I forgot everything else.
See the thing about running a race is up till the moment when the whistle blows you’re nervous, sure you’re about to fall and hoping that the ground opens up and swallows you. But once you begin to run, you’re oblivious to the world around you. Believe me, there is no better feeling than that. You have become one with the wind.
So now I was free of all that nervous terror, anxiety and panic. But here’s the problem- like every race before this one, Anne was ahead of me. I tried as hard as I could to overtake her but to no avail. She was just way too fast.
A lap later, I was approaching the final bend. Here was my last chance to overtake her. My lungs were burning but I pushed myself to try harder. But no- as my luck would have it I was still behind her- tantalizingly close but she was still beyond me.
We were on the homestretch now- I could see the ribbon at the end of the line. I was beginning to give up hope. But then I noticed she was slowing down- probably because she was pretty sure she was going to win this last one. She probably was, I thought to myself. Despite this, I found myself speeding up- my legs going faster than I would have thought possible. We were neck and neck now. She seemed to be trying to speed up now, but it was too late.
I felt the ribbon across my chest. I had crossed the finish line. And for the first time in my life I had done it before she had. Even before I could slow down I was enveloped by the welcoming arms of my friends. Her last race on these grounds and I had won. Finally.

Greg said...

Go Canucks!
It wasn't until you mentioned them in this post that I realised you'd not mentioned them much at all this year; I think i'd been assuming that they'd switched sports and were now world-class needleworkers or something ;-) Still, it sounds like they should go through barring some extremely bad luck, so let's keep on holding on!
I'm curious as to what the hero of your poem is claiming as he crosses the finish line... I'm choosing to believe it's the Vancouver Canucks' inaugural needlework trophy :) But I like the rhythm, the tone and the way the poem builds nicely in such a short space, so I think the trophy is well-deserved.

The homestretch
The audience were gathered in a horseshoe around the stage; a long tongue of a platform that reached out like a catwalk. The body-poet Marco Quan was practically break-dancing as he spat savage lyrics and phat trochees into the air, and when he concluded, spinning on his head for six seconds like an inverted whirling dervish, the audience rose to their feet and ovated him with enough noise to rattle the glasses on the shelves behind the bar.
Leaning against the bar were Cyril and Catto, Partners in Rhymes.
"Looks like you're up next," said the bartender, polishing a martini glass with a bartowel. "Marco always likes to finish with a bit of style."
Cyril looked at Catto, his long face so mournful that she was immediately put in mind of Droopy McPoodle. "We've got some Abyssinian beat-boxing," he said. He voice was deep, basso profundo, and rattled the glasses almost as much as the applause had. "Or there's what we think was Gregorian Chant."
"Oh no," said Catto quickly. "You know that that nearly summoned Hastur last time you did it."
"But I think I've got it right n–"
"And that's exactly what you said last time! No. Get out there and do the Synaesthete's syncretism for them; they'll like that given what they've just seen. Then when you've warmed them up I'll come up and we'll do Duelling Divorcers for a laugh, and then we'll be in the homestretch. We'll finish with Pistols at Dawn."
Cyril sighed heavily and lumbered off to the stage. After a moment Catto turned to the barman. "Did I tell him to keep his pants on for the Synaesthete's syncretism?" she asked. The barman shook his head. "Aw damn," she said. "Do this lot appreciate comedy nudity at all?" Another shake of the head. "Oh well," she said, two pistols appearing from somewhere about her person like magic. "I guess it's Pistols at Dawn early then."
She pointed them at the barman. "Let's have the contents of that till for starters," she said.

morganna said...

Arms pumping
Legs pounding
Lungs whooshing
The finish line is

Marc said...

Lakshmi - love the details and emotion and tension in this one. The narrator's thoughts and feelings are nicely conveyed and that ending triumph is heartfelt. Nice work!

Greg - well, they did have a lot of time last summer to work on their needlework...

Marco Quan, hey? Hmm.

Ooh! So pleased you've given us more of the Partners in Rhymes! Fantastic back and forth, with the barman a delightful third wheel to it all.

Morganna - that's that homestretch feeling, nicely captured :)