Bread City Basketball


The Leap by Cliff Dweller
April 26, 2012, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Photography, Poetry | Tags: ,

Shooting hoops,
you realize that
the spirit of the universe
swirls around you
like a gentle
blue light
The lowering sun beckons
your eyes and nothing else
This is all you need
This is your life,
that hunk of
one city street,
and you become
a thing of beauty
jumping through
the evening’s stillness
with this pumpkin
in your hand
You choose
to be outside
playing basketball
because you have
a small hole to fill
A net of darkness
that you love
more than a best friend
Street lights are shining again
in the shadow of the city
You’re in the middle,
catching the ball
before you leap
as high as Olympus
And suddenly you see
your fingertips
on the ball
growing older,
growing darker,
the very last drop
of immortality

by Cliff Dweller

1990s tribeca basketball nyc
photo via waiting4brooklyn



Why We Play Basketball, Pt. 4

It is just a game
we are told by those
who cannot play it
unless it is play.
For us, it is war,

often desperate
and without reason.
We throw our body
against another
body. We learn to

hate each other, hate
the ball, hate the hoop,
hate the fallen snow,
hate our clumsy hands,
hate our thirsty mouths

when we drink from
the fountain. We hate
our fathers. We hate
our mothers. We hate
the face in our mirror.

We play basketball
because we want to
separate love from
hate, and because we
know how to keep score.

– Excerpted from Sherman Alexie’s five-part poem, Why We Play Basketball



PLAYING BASKETBALL WITH THE VIETCONG
July 28, 2007, 7:12 pm
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Poetry, War | Tags: , , ,

You never thought it would come to this,
that afternoon in the war
when you leaned so hard into the controls
you almost became part of the landscape:
just you, the old man, the old woman
and their buffalo.
You never thought then
that this grey-haired man in sandals
smoking Gauloises on your back porch,
drinking your beer, his rough cough
punctuating tales of how he fooled
the French in 54,
would arrive at your back door
to call you out to shoot some baskets, friend.
If at first he seems awkward,
before long he’s got it down.
His left leg lifts from the ground,
his arms arch back then forward
from the waist to release the ball
arcing to the hoop, one, two, …
ten straight times. You stare at him
in his tee shirt, sandals, and shorts.
Yes, he smiles. It’s a gift,
good for bringing gunships down
as he did in the Delta
and in other places where, he whispers,
there may be other scores to settle.

by Kevin Bowen

basketball court in vietnam
photo: Huy Nguyen