by Brian Oliu
Week Seven: Alabama 52 – Arkansas 0
An evening where we can relax–we are spoiled by the ease of victory & the love of sport; that the risk involved here is minor to us–we get to the bars on time, we find our stool near the door. There are nights where we have too little water & too much of something else & our head swells to unseen proportions–it presses up against the inside of our skull like a dog too large for its cage–the fattening and shrinking of what keeps us remembering to not do this again, to take it easier next time, the swears of never again. It is a simple process, though there are slips: friends who have shattered bone while walking home, a wrong step off of a curb, the weight of a staggered body slicing through skin. This is proof of how clumsy we have become: that once, perhaps, we could be heroes in white and crimson flying around, moving our feet like they aren’t even a part of us. When one of ours goes down, the crowd hushes: we see the holding of a knee, the grasping of a foot. Someone somewhere says that we need to remember that this is simply a game: that when it ends, everyone needs to limp their way home.
Week Eight: Tennessee at Alabama
If I start with a list of things I dislike, I could be here until the moon falls into the ocean–the third Saturday of this month is reserved for quips about the insides of pumpkins, smashed & rotting in the road. The younger the person the more forgiving they are: of dogs, of checkerboards, of telling secrets like they have no secrets of their own. In town, bars stop serving whiskey distilled in the crevices of the Smokies, instead settling on something entirely foreign–of more time spent in barrels, of asides of how lively the water can be. It is said that the closer we are to those who differ from us, the less forgiving we are & this is true: when one drives north, the roads do not change, the trees are not on fire. And yet we cringe when we see orange not found in nature: the flat sheen of something that should’ve been left behind at the border. If we could, we would hold our breathe as we passed through; the crisp air of mountains be damned, bring me back to a place where the beauty is in being everything that they are not.