Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Friday, 30 October 2009

The X of the Unknown


.


File:Meteor.jpg





Sweet notes in dimensionless clusters
Eighth notes and fluttering cue balls
And Tibetan gongs in the side pockets
Those are what Charley Johnson heard
When he got his bell rung

He could stand but he could not see
He could hear but he could not talk
He could think but he could not walk
And over his head in the thought balloon
Little birds tweeted

So he continued to stand there
Until they came out and got him
And even then it was hard to lead him off
For he seemed like a man leaving his mind behind him
Somewhere there on the ground





File:Speech balloon 3 types.svg
























Meteor crater, Arizona: photo by USGS, 2005
Speech balloon, thought balloon, scream balloon (top to bottom)
: image by EnEdC, 2007

2 comments:

SarahA said...

Ha ha ha ha ha Oh this is so good to read this early in the morning. I am NOT a morning person, but this has brightened my morning.
'He could stand but he could not see
He could hear but he could not talk
He could think but he could not walk
And over his head in the thought balloon' My fav of the whole.
Little birds tweeted

TC said...

Yes, I too can't help but laugh, yet in the same moment feel terribly guilty, for I am laughing about someone having a head injury (concussion), but then the guilt is dispelled by knowing this happened very long ago and the fellow is probably fine now, but then that convenient conclusion is undermined quickly by the realistic acknowledgment that perhaps he is not.

Pause while I go find out.

OK, sigh of relief. Charley Lane Johnson (b. 1938), who was playing in the orange shirt of a Denver Bronco when he got his bell so memorably rung, seems to have suffered no lasting damage; he is currently a professor of Chemical Engineering at his alma mater, New Mexico State University. Happy ending.

American football, however, remains one long symphony of little birds tweeting from head injuries; but one must "be a man" and laugh it off, as, back in the day, a million Charley Johnsons did -- and were meant to do.

Playing quarterback in a college intramural game in 1959 I dropped back to pass, was hit from the blind side -- or so I was told later. Knocked out cold for a period of time. Didn't enjoy one second of the music of the little birds at that time and never again played that sport. That first concussion must have made a cruel rather than a brave person out of me. Else I would no longer be able to laugh about such things.