Up front the admission: I ain't no poet. Never been one. Never understood the form. Never much liked it.
But, like every writer who's ever put a letter on a page, I occasionally dabble--badly; more like babble--in it. And below is an effort, humble though it be, that was brought to me by my pal Lorie White, who watched her first pro rasslin' match last night and listened to people get all fired up. These are people who believe what you're seeing is spontaneous and honest as Jesus.
They'd be wrong, of course, but ain't no arguing faith.
When I was a young sports writer, I got to cover some rasslin' because the head of my sports department--like the heads of many sports departments in those days--was on the take and the rasslin' promoters was doing the givin'. I didn't get nothin' but experience and was grateful for that, coming, as I did, in off the street looking for a job.
Anyhow, here's my poem (with apologies to Robert Service). Take it as you will, but like writin' about rasslin' itself, I liked doing it.
Ode to the rasslin’ graft
The rasslin’ promoter came by today
To get some more space on our pages.
Said the coverage he got was too short for him
And he'd make us a trade with more wages.
He wanted some coverage he said to me,
And he told me he’d pay all the writers
A hundred bucks, two tickets and beer
If they’d say somethin’ good ‘bout his fighters.
Now rasslin’s a game we all know to be
As fake and made up as the movies,
But the money is green, the beer is cold
And so what if the matches ain’t true-vies.
The people come out in their WalMart duds
A-stompin’ and yellin’ and threatenin’,
Cheerin’ the good guys, booing the bad,
Gettin' drunk, gettin' mad and fret-nin'.
When I was a kid and covered this "sport"
My editor said they weren't fakin’
And the guy who paid him all of that graft
Said, "Cover it real if you’re takin'."
So I done all of that and had me some grins
Made pals of the fighters, learned the ropes
Studied about ethics the backdoor way
And found for sure: they weren’t dopes.