Thursday, March 13, 2014

Max Tell / Poems / Olympic Heroes

Robert Luongo, 2014 Olympics,

The Goalie

Dedicated to Roberto Luongo

The rink was slick and ready, the zamboni had made its pass.
Not a skate had crossed the line, ice shimmered just like glass.
The crowd was loud and restless for the players to appear,
Then came a sudden cheering - 
Cheering - cheering -
Then came a sudden cheering for the player of the year.   

He was geared as if for battle, with mask, gloves, and stick;
Yet he had a gentle nature that always did the trick.
He kept his mind in focus, on the single play at hand.   
Our goalie was a player -
A player - a player
Our goalie was a player, the game was in his hand.

He leaned on the net in silence, his heart no open book.
He downed a sip of water with a gladiator's look.
But deep inside was calmness, while holding to an oath,
In his heart repeating -
Repeating - repeating -
In his heart repeating, “We’ll win,” a gentle boast.

The coaches eyed the face-off, steam spilling from their breath.
All could feel the tension, it almost felt like death,
For one team or the other would be standing with the cup,
The winners get the praises -
The praises - the praises -
The winners get the praises, while the loser's game is up.

Each team was like a hammer against the team opposed,
Skirmishes and boarding, opponents nose to nose,
Until an open net appeared through the steaming air,
Our captain quickly sank the puck -
Sank the puck - sank the puck -
Our captain quickly sank the puck, as the opposition glared.

One to nothing stood alone as the one and only score.
Passions flared, anger flew, dragons to the core.
The game began to crumble; the penalty box was crammed.
The players fed the battle -
The battle - the battle -
The players fed the battle, with any foe at hand.

But our goalie never wavered, never lost his cool.
He never blew from cold to hot, more a fencer in a duel.
The game was just a game to him, important, nothing more.
Our goalie’s hand was steady -
Steady - steady -
Our goalie’s hand was steady; the game was not a war.

Then a slap-shot from the blue line, an arrow straight and true,
It was seconds to the final horn. Could they score before it blew?
Their puck was like a rocket, sailing through the sky,
A perfect little rocket -
A rocket - a rocket -
A perfect little rocket, invisible to the eye.

Fans can be so fickle; they can turn upon a dime.
They can pull you up, then pull you down, to some it's such a crime.
Then our goalie faltered and made the matter worse,
As the puck, it kept on coming -
Coming - coming -
As the puck, it kept on coming, as if carried by a curse.

But then a lunge. No a leap! He thrust his free glove up.
"A win! A win! Can you believe? He’s given us the cup!"
He stopped the puck, our champion, with the flick of a winner's wrist.
Our goalie was a winner -
A winner – a winner -
Our goalie was a winner, the puck stuck in his fist.

The ice lay scarred and littered, the zamboni engine cold.
The story had been written, and the story would be told:
“From silence came a cheering for the one who'd won the game.
The cheering then exploded -
Exploded – exploded -
The cheering then exploded, thundering his name.”

© Robert “Max Tell” Stelmach 2013

Listen to The Goalie on SoundCloud:

Watch The Goalie on Youtube:

Virtue & Moyer, 2014 Olympics,
Olympic Romance
Dedicated to
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moyer 

If I were you and you were me
The team that you and I would be
On or off the ice would be a dance,
Different than our dance today
But still a dance in every way
Making every moment a romance.

Before we’d skate upon the ice
We’d breath a breath, not once or twice
But many times as in the past we’ve done.
We’d take our nerves stirred up inside
Nothing in-between us hide
And let our hearts within us beat as one.

I’d focus on my strength within
Turn myself to steal, not tin,
Look upward to the power of the skies.
I’d let my gentle nature rule
Turn fire to a calmer cool,
Prepare myself by looking in your eyes.

Once on the ice, our practice done,
We’d concentrate on what’s to come,
Each moment mapped out perfectly in time,
But every movement cool and calm
As we’re dancing palm to palm
Then spin around and stop upon a dime.

I'd love it as you take my hand,
I'd feel surprised by things we’ve planned,
My heart about to leap and even fly.
I’d lift you to the sky, my dear,
I’d truly make you fly, my dear,
For we were meant to be, you and I.

But when each dancing game is done,
As is now, one thing to come,
To let our hearts relax and open wide,
To ease back into normal life
With our feet up off the ice
Our skates now hanging neatly side by side.
© Robert “Max Tell” Stelmach 2014

Alexandre Bilodeau and Older Brother Fredrick
2014 Olympics,
Ode to Bro

Dedicated to Alexandre Bilodeau and his older brother Fredrick

Bro, Bro, my older bro,
You’re more than brother, don’t you know.
When fans, they rave, there’s nothing new;
I’m only brave because of you.

When in practice and in pain,
I think of you and your refrain,
“First there's down, then there’s up,
Winners choose to win the cup.”

You’re the drive within my soul,
You’re my finish line, my goal.
You’re my strength, so deep within;
Always there to share the win.

You re-start me, when I stop.
You’re my cheers, when I’m hot.
You’re my path (lead the way)
In your wheelchair every day.

You’re my brother; you’re my friend,
Side by side ‘til the end.
You’re my shadow, that you are,
Yet my hero, and my star.

I could win this on my own,
But with you I’m not alone;
Somehow two adds up to three,
Brother Fredrick, you’re the key.

Bro, Bro, my older bro,
You’re more than brother, don’t you know.
You’re the one who makes me bold,
More to me than winning gold.

© Robert "Max Tell" Stelmach 2014

Clara Hughes
Taming Demons                                   
Dedicated to Olympic speed skater and cyclist Clara Hughes1

There’s a demon in the darkness, with a nameless, sick appeal,
Dogging me in dreams, a wolf nipping at my heels.
She’s the ‘gator in the garden, the snake within the grass;
She’s the noose around my neck, but I swear she’ll never last.
I’ll fight her in the shadows. I’ll fight her in the light.
In the dust, I’ll leave her; I’ll not give up the fight.

I’m not shy to praise my winnings, my silver, bronze, and gold;
But there’s more to life than medals, and my story must be told.
I was reckless as a teen; there was something in the thrill,
Like climbing out a window and standing on the sill,
Then looking down for miles at the sidewalk far below,
Sensations like a drug, I simply had to know.

Then a brave speed skater cut across the ice.
Could I reach his stardom? Should I throw the dice?
His name is Gaétan Boucher2, a winner at the Games.
Could I beat him on the corners? Could I repeat his fame?
I’d never been a dreamer, but I’d never felt so strong;
A dream becomes addictive, a hook that pulls you on.

I amazed myself and others by building from defeat,
Pedal to the metal, my eye upon the street,
Pushing ever faster, sticking to my goal,
To make a shining diamond from a lump of coal.
Six years of constant training, then silver for my pains,
And medal after medal adding to my gains.

Then I won a gold; but it hit me like a sin,
With all the expectations, the lure of win on win.
I'd thought that gold was perfect, and made me perfect too.
But none of us is perfect, not me, not you.
I'd somehow lost my footing; I’d fallen from the edge,
Nothing above but that narrow ledge.

I felt that I was falling, winning was a bust.
No happiness, just balling, my self-esteem crushed.
I hid my tears in darkness; I hid my soul from joy,
Two Olympic golds hung like broken toys.
Months dragged into years – I was chained to a stone.
I shied away from friends, turning off my phone.

I couldn’t see the picture, my mirror broken glass,
I was tangled in a chokehold, half dizzy from a crash.
I tried to heal myself and rise above the pain,
But it hit me like a bullet, again, again, again.
It played me like a yo-yo, a ringing in my ears.
All that I was conscious of was the heartbeat of my fears.

My demon, turned to Cyclops, raised her one-eyed head.
That eye was like a serpent’s to turn me into lead.
My blood began to thicken, muscle turned to stone,
My joints like rusted metal, hardening to bone.
It spun me in a spiral in never ending spins,
My life a heap of ashes, in spite of all my wins.

Then a light began to flicker, tunneling ahead.
“You feel yourself alone, but it’s only in your head.
All of us have demons. They threaten and they cry --
Mine’s a blonde Medusa with million dollar eyes.
But a demon’s not a demon, just a whiff of pixie dust.
I’ll show you how to beat it, but trusting is a must.”

He led me down a tunnel; I’d never seen before,
A path that led within, there lay the sore;
A festering, a wound, I never knew I had --
Not knowing there’s a cut, I’d been picking at the scab.
“But how can I begin?” “Take baby steps,” he said,
“Another and another.” Down the path he led.

Healing was not easy, there’s not one secret cure,
But the pain of healing’s better than suffering, that’s for sure.
Everyday’s a battle; we win and sometimes lose.
But I control the reins; it’s me who gets to choose.
I’ve won medals on the ice, won medals on the track;
What really keeps me going is always giving back.

The secret to my healing is really not the fight.
But looking for a calmness to keep me through the night.
My demon’s not a demon, my demon is myself,
I’ve turned her from a demon to a pixie on my shelf.
The trick in life’s to calm her, to find her lighter side,
For once I’ve calmed and soothed her, I no longer have to hide.

1Clara Hughes, (born September 27, 1972) is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater, who has won multiple Olympic medals in both sports. Hughes won two bronze in the Summer Olympics in 1996 and four medals (one gold, one silver, two bronze) over the course of three Winter Olympics. She is tied with Cindy Klassen as the Canadian with the most Olympic medals, with six medals total.

2 Gaétan T. Boucher, (born May 10, 1958, in Charlesbourg, Quebec) represented Canada in speed skating in the 1984 Olympics, where he won three medals, the most medals for a Canadian athlete at one Olympics to date. With his gold medals in the 1000 m and 1500 m events he also became the first Canadian male to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

3/22/14 2:34 PM

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