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Saturday 13 March 2010

Replacement Heart (Wayne Rooney)


A busy beating thing grows inside one's chest
This is known as the human heart a muscle
It begets inclinations occupations names
It's a bit useful
For a while then it wears out like everyone else's

A heart is a hard thing to lose O my personal angel of dispensations and sums
You approach me carrying a catalogue of replacement parts
I am permitted to replace my exhausted heart with that of anyone I choose
I choose Wayne's
When Saturday comes

Wayne Rooney challenged by Momo Sissoko and Sami Hyypia: painting by Tom Clark, 2006


. said...

This really is wonderful Tom. I saw the title pop up and had to come see. The boy's on fire right now, a hardworking, honest fire filled with desire. Bring on the summer!

This week - AC Milan promptly dispatched. :)

TC said...


Odd, isn't it, how we continue to see him as a boy even now that he manifestly no longer is one. Perhaps it's the wonderful enthusiasm he brings. Or perhaps it's just that he is locked in our memories by that wonder strike for Everton in the autumn of 2002, putting an end to the long Arsenal unbeaten run. An amazing lad, forever, from thenceforth.

In any case, now that my old heart no longer works very well, the idle mind plays with such phantasmal imaginings as having Wayne's.

Of course he might not care to have it out on loan.

But something tells me Milan would be quick to approve the transfer.

Sam Kelly said...

He never was a boy, he was a manchild! And the more he grows into his role the more of a pleasure it is to have him on our side.

Such a shame that, as England's best hope of doing something in South Africa, he's destined to break a bone somewhere in his leg / foot around mid-to-late April...

TC said...


Well, there's always the legendary power of prayer...

And by the way, footie fans of the aethernet, Sam's state-of-the-art blog Hasta El Gol Siempre is the world's finest source for the doings of albicelestial genius everywhere.

(The above would be an entirely disinterested statement were I not Sam's weekly Argentines Abroad/Mexico correspondent.)



Beautiful poem -- AND YOUR PAINTING (!) Thanks for this. . . .

J said...

Painting as well. Cool

Rooney's impressive, at least as scorer, but let's not forget ...2006. Flatfoot, like most....WASPs. Didn't he gag via Portugal?

Team espana, or italia (or pinche brazzila)--they play a game quite different than germans or anglos. I generally don't follow copa. Let's hope mex. is not in, or riots downtown.

Viva espana!

human being said...

the way this poem is constructed reminds me of the metal works Zhazeh Tabatabee... (the Iranian sculptor, poet and playwright)

he used old and used metal parts of cars and machineries to create his artworks... things very ordinary, mundane... not conspicuous at all... made to serve another purpose...

but the outcome... the artwork... was something soulful... speaking of another thing... something beautiful... unworldly...

in this poem all those words... the detached attitude... and the objective point of view... about heart replacement... are like those old metal parts...

this poem is a love poem... a gorgeous one... one of your best (among the ones i've read)

and what is the role of Wayne Rooney...
he's representative of that torrential wave of youthful love toward what is the most important thing in life... the thing the persona of this poem wants to revive in himself...

what amazes me in the painting is the ball... it doesn't belong there... it's more with us... than with the players... think this is intentional... because of its color...

GREAT work...

TC said...

Appreciate the comments on the poem and the painting.

The painting is one of about fifteen Rooneys among the hundred or more football paintings I did over a ten year period.

Here is another of the paintings, this one a Zidane.

The project foundered after a decade of preoccupation that came to seem crazy after a while. And too I don't any longer have the physical stamina I then did have. Perhaps if there had been a commercial motive. But you can't sell art in isolation. And I don't get around much any more.

About Wayne, J,

Yes it's too bad about the flat feet.

I am flat-footed, Irish and have been losing my hair for some time, so those would be three things I have in common with Wayne. His intensity of temper, however, I can't myself even imagine, being noted for maintaining at all times a serene unruffled calm.

His competitive fire and love of the sheer play of it all are very impressive to me. Over and above his quite unlikely talents. Who'd have thought -- a short thick kid from a large family in a tough working class milieu. In a country that has not produced a footballer of his quality for perhaps forty years.

It's his knees that would seem the worry now. But this is a person who, were such extreme measures required, would probably break down the brick wall of a medical facility to get to South Africa.

I thought he was unfairly done by in the Portugal debacle, and by his own United teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo, who cynically feigned an injury at the hands of the, in that instance, entirely blameless Wayne; and of course then compounded the indignity by his subsequent winks toward the sidelines; leaving Wayne, on the sad team bus afterward, to ask his fellow Scouse Steven Gerrard, How he should conduct himself toward Ronaldo when they both returned to Manchester? I'd never speak to the ---- again if it were me, said Gerrard, or words to the effect.

Yet Rooney managed to survive that next phase in Ronaldo's shadow. And now that the show pony is gone, Wayne is proving the better horse for the work. Today he put in two as United saw off limp Fulham. That's twenty five on the league and thirty-four total, with nearly two months of season still to go.

J, I'd agree Spain is lovely on the eye, should win everything simply for their beauty of play, but should and will are of course two different stories.

Not that I would wish riots upon you, but my heart lies with infinite longshot Mexico. Watch out for Javier Chicharita Hernandez.

TC said...

Thank you hb, very perceptive as always.

In pointing out that it's a love poem you point out what is obviously true yet I hadn't myself inkled. Perhaps that's because the poem was only written last Wednesday.

I am cheered by this apprehension you have given me.

About the ball. In this set of 100 football paintings, each painting has a ball with two or more players in contention for it. So yes, the ball is always the center, and it usually seems to float out from the surface just a bit. In these paintings the players are seen in full figure. (In this post the reproduction of the painting is somewhat cropped. I really don't have much photograph record of the work, just a few shots taken by hand phone by a friend, Mohamed Moqtar--who should indeed be credited for taking this photograph of the painting, and of the Zidane painting I have linked to as well.)

aditya said...

Thats a bloody good painting Tom. Especially Hyppia with the tackle. Makes me nostalgic and reminiscent of so many memories. Most of them already mentioned by you ! I had seen and read the Zidane one .. previously too.

The "boy" scored two again ! Berbatov was splendid today.

Wayne's heart is an interesting proposition. Some times I feel, he will rip Nani apart some day for not doing the right thing!!!

human being said...


i'm always amazed by the things others and myself find in my works...

your Zidane was beatuiful!

TC said...


Yes, another great day for the lad with the gigantic heart. I think the fear of being ripped up by him probably inspires Nani. Even the more sedate Berbatov did as you say seem to rise to the occasion. And at the end Wayne was conceding nothing to fatigue though the match was already well in hand. He was contesting fiercely for every ball.


Yes, without hearing from our sharp-eyed readers about what may be concealed from us in our own work, we would be in danger of remaining forever in the self-bound dark. So I am grateful to you for enlightenment, as ever!

(And of course I am pleased you enjoyed the Zidane.)

Sam Kelly said...

Cristiano Ronaldo waved the imaginary card, Tom, rather than feigning injury. The injury - to Ricardo Carvalho's crotch (it was Ricardo Carvalho, wasn't it?) - was very real. The cause, of course, was Rooney's temper, and that's something he's rather got the better of in the four years since.

It's also worth remembering (and this is mainly addressed to J) that he was 20 years old at the last World Cup. For all my jesting above about him never having been a child, he was twenty years old, and was arguably, alongside Joe Cole, his team's best player at the tournament.

I am now praying that the infinitely more expendable (from England's viewpoint) David Beckham's injury yesterday was a case of him 'taking a bullet' from Fate to keep Wazza in the side...

human being said...

'...danger of remaining forever in the self-bound dark'

this calls to be part of a poem...

TC said...


Thanks for refreshing my memory.

Looking at it again, though... one does of course see the stamp on Carvalho as a nasty bit of temper, plainly bred of frustration. But do note that the official reaches for the red card only AFTER -- and indeed JUST after -- Rooney gives Ronaldo a little impatient shove, his way of saying "buzz off". In other words, there is fair evidence it was not the harmful stamp but the innocuous shove which provoked the sending-off. After all, what business had Ronaldo attempting to orchestrate the officiating at that point?

And Ronaldo then winks toward the sidelines.

And at the end of the clip one sees the little "friendly" head-butt delivered by Ronaldo to Rooney just before kick-off.

(Of course you're right about the temper. But looking at the clip, it's astonishing to see how very youthful Wayne looks. One remembers he has done -- that is, had to do -- a fair bit of growing up since then.)

TC said...

And while we're doing corrections... and speaking of youthful wonders... that promising young (21) Mexican striker I mentioned deserves having his nickname got right: it's Javier El Chicharito Hernández. He plays for Chivas of Guadalajara. The feet probably already quicker than Wayne's ever were. But the heart? Another matter entirely, of course.

Stu said...

Wonderful poem and painting, Tom.

As a Liverpool supporter myself I think you've captured Hyppia perfectly. He always gave 100% and at his peak was hard to beat: a commanding presence, strong in the air and in the tackle.

Sissoko never really lived up to his potential as "the next Viera" while playing for us. He was pretty good at winning the ball but just as good at giving it away.

I may be a Liverpool supporter but I have huge admiration for Rooney and his heart. I support England (the country of my birth) as well, and I can't say I really hold back in cheering Wayne when he plays for Man U either. I don't tend to get into all those arch-rivalries, I just like to see football played beautifully and in the right spirit. Wayne ticks both of those boxes almost every time I see him play.

I hope Sam's right that Becks has "taken the bullet of fate" for England!

Roll on the World Cup...

TC said...


Yes, Hyypia has been missed.

At Juve Momo at least scored a goal, let us give him that much.

The Liverpool season up to just lately has been painful to behold, certainly. One waits for the class to show... until forced to wonder if it is really still there after all. But the way they saw off Pompey on Monday gave a bit of cause for hope. Admittedly it was merely Pompey. But Torres back fit and in form obviously makes a world of difference. And finally letting Aquilani out of the stable to earn his money is surely no bad thing.

In any case they will never walk alone. Even when hobbling.