Thursday, June 20, 2013

A poem about ski racing in the 1960s (#2... of 60).

For several years, I've wanted to write a poem about skiing back in the day. I decided to try my hand at mirroring George Ella Lyon's fabulous poem, Where I'm From. If you're not a skier familiar with the sport c.1960, this poem could leave you wondering.


I am from long thong straps
and Marker-Nevada combinations.
I am from wooden Kneissls, plastic K2’s, and the
cold black steel of Head Competitions.

I am from boot-top fractures and hand-held timing,
from leather boots and bamboo slalom gates
whose many colors and random sets
tested our memories.  

I am from the opening day at Black Mountain:
4th tower, red hotdogs on a bonfire, hot chocolate,
and hay bales piled near the sleek new T-bar
that carried us toward the sky.

I’m from Scotty’s Mountain and
the hill in our backyard below Liberty's,
I’m from the graveyard ski jump at Sunnyside Terrace
and the night trail at Chisholm Winter Ski Park.
I’m from Titcomb, Saddleback,
Sugarloaf, and The River—
from Wild Cat and Cannon, Cranmore and Loon.

I’m from The Suicide and The Aurele Legere ski jumps
that we packed and packed and pack some more;
I’m from High School Hill and the Lower Quirion Loop,
            from Tuckerman’s and Hillman’s Highway…
And once, kept out of school, the slopes of  
Mt Abram with my mother and brother Rob.

I’m from the Telstar Shuush, the Wes Marco, and
the Saddleback Cup; from Mack Miller and Herbie Adams,
from Lufkin, Lutick, Miller, and Chenard,
from Blackie’s and Hamann’s ski shops, 
rope tows and poma’s, chairlifts and T’s.

I’m from the shores of the Androscoggin and Swift Rivers
where our fathers fit pipe, tested pulp, and
sucked in sulfur to make paper for our skis.

I’m from expert trails and community, from real snow days
and hissing radiators lined with mittens.
I’m from the western mountains,
the River Valley… my home.  

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