MSU laxman Ted Swoboda was floating around Florida recently, sent this photo of critter sin Everglades National Park. MSU will celebrate its 50th anniversary of lacross on Saturday, April 6 and we’ll be there to see the boys of many, many springs ago. I was lucky to play ont he first three club teams. I wonder how many Yooper boys have played lacrosse. Boda’s pix served to bring a poem to life, imagining I was there, and not Boda.
It seemed so very fitting
That I might soon be shitting
The length of my red Bermuda shorts.
Standing in the Everglades
The sun blazing hot from high
The water glazed with pestilence
I heard the gators roll and snort.
And when I burst into the lagoon
I found a mythic reptile port
Which nearly made me swoon,
A dozen creatures all so large
800 pounders side-by-side
Parked like rough-backed Cadillacs
At a noted mobster’s funeral
It’s easy to teach the principle
Of peaceful coexistence when
The lessons linger lethargically
In water black as the
Hollywood Creature’s filmic home
I couldn’t help but think
Standing on the brink of all that stink
That this was life down to the bone
Where gators gazed sloe-eyed upon
Things they might soon make gone
Gaunt black vultures wading
With their own scant thoughts
Everything in that swamp was fraught
With death and rot, and my being
There, camera in hand,
Was sure to come to naught.
I left them the way Ahab
Could not, drove ten miles
To a more hospitable spot
To imbibe of fatuous libations
And themed rations
“Swamp syrup & gator griddle cakes
Come to mind from the only menu
I could find, hand written with the note:
All meat here are served fresh
And cooked to your spellifications
That is to say by your own directions.
There in the safety of a walled in bar
I could be the puffed up sort
To pretend I was a rugged outdoor sport
Which you see is fiction
Never mind the clumsy diction.
It is one thing to visit creatures
Born in god’s darkest plans
And put in steel caged boxes ringed with safety sand
And quite another for one to venture
Onto ground where your own breathing
Is the only sound, one the gators
Listen for as they wait in ambush on the muddy floor,
Their ancient brains filling with juice of hunger
Stewed slowly in archetypal seething, that and no more.
[Portage, March 28, 2013]