I Like That
(Lines written January 8, 2015 before the Redskins first playoff game)
A long time we had coming to it, ups and downs,
Many more downs than ups, valleys and peaks,
Many more valleys than peaks, the despondent
Malaise that comes from accepting the bottom
Because the climb seems impossible. Each first
Upward step was followed by stumbles, so often,
That cynicism grew, faithlessness spread, as hope
After hope was dashed, broken, crushed, as if
Echoing the sound of bones breaking and joints’,
Stressed and pressed in mounting tension, tendons
Tightening only to snap, heard in the crowded
Silence, somewhere between the initial “Uhh”
And the inevitable gasp, followed by another
Long suffering sigh, knowing that another glimmer
Of light has been systematically snuffed out again.
In the valley, since building seems only pointless,
You try to buy your way up, make it seem like
Investments are being made, progress occurring,
The façade of growth, victories in meaningless
Arenas, far from the field, but deep down all know,
Because all have been conditioned to know,
It is only a show, and no real plan exists. The show
Goes on, and the distraction of drama becomes
The only show in town. Like buzzards, we circle,
In our hopeless desire to be filled, devouring
The rotten decay because we have been starved.
Such has it been in Washington, and not just
On Capitol Hill or in the White House, and not
Just for eight or sixteen years, but for longer.
For twenty-five years we’ve suffered this road,
And the confidence we knew then is a fleeting
Mere memory of the mind, when victory knew
The faces of hero after hero, no one savior,
But a groundswell of confidence in competence,
A way, a non-swaggering march of men, facing,
And overcoming adversity together, climbing
Together, arm in arm, each knowing his role
And importance in achieving a single minded goal.
Is twenty-five years in the dark enough to teach
The lesson, that you can’t buy it, you can’t
Steal it, you can’t artificially manufacture it,
One man can’t carry it alone, it doesn’t happen
With just one step, and you can’t skip steps,
But you have to believe in each step? Has it
Been enough time for the childish dreamers
To be put to bed, so that the men can rise
And go to work, with patience and an unbroken
Quiet faith in the step ahead and the man
Standing beside you, taking it there with you?
Have leaders emerged, built by the fire, but not
Burned by it, not broken by it, standing unmired by
The lost faith that leads others to fear and avoidance?
Maybe this time, we have seen a glimpse, and are
Being filled again by the real meat of victory
And not distraction. Hope has returned, different,
Reminiscent because it does seem more real.
It does seem like the right questions are being
Asked and answered, honestly, without dissembling
Double talk about moral victories and April wins.
It does seem like a foundation, a firm foundation
Is being built. It does seem like a chain is being built,
Rather than one shining link. It does seem like
As good as today may just be, tomorrow has not
Been forgotten and sold, but that it is all connected,
Then and now, as it always should be, and must be
Because it actually is, and the realization of such,
Is the true lesson of the fire, if you can emerge
On the other side, having stood under the heat.
I was a child when the confidence was strong, and I
Remember the heroes of my youth. I see the men
Who’ve been before behind those numbers, the gifts
They gave me: entertainment, hope, faith, excitement,
Memories, and long for those days to return.
I hope they have because we’ve known enough
Of the other side to be filled with the joy again.
Today I feel that joy. It doesn’t seem to be fleeting
Nor fragile. Of course, only time will tell, but for now
I must say, “I like that.” I like that very much.