Inebriation Leads to a Mathlete Fiasco

Wallop is what they did—
an attack against  
the mass-produced grim light 
populating the hotel hallways,  
an attack against 
you drunkards 
who burned from chemicals, 
from brightness, those hours
after being asked repeatedly 
to leave the jacuzzi unpopulated.

Pent up with the made-up chaos 
of many years, a frustration of mathletes 
unleashed their wallop
upon you wild-eyed bastards, 
you brothers of loss.
Though the cause 
has been left somewhere below 
your swelling brains—
sodium starved and clumsy, 
inaccurate as your desperate swings—

your square-faced assailants 
equated you to a word problem 
unsolved. But pummel
seemed to offer them something
close to their solution.

Strange, this same La Quinta Inn 
glows near home in Ada, Oklahoma, 
gracing that gray interstate ugliness 
your too brave bastion claims 
to know—yet here in San Jose 
the Inn's sterile fluorescence 
seems foreign, here, 
where the cleaning crew
will baking soda the blood 
from the carpet after 
the blood-orange sun 
announces dawn. 

Still, buried in the world 
of this moment, these are not 
your most concerning troubles.
You should be concerned because fear 
moves through the amygdala 
and cowers behind the pituitary gland. 
Your pursuers are counting on it, 
in a battered trance of aphobia. 
You should be concerned 
because you're outnumbered
and already forgetting 
your facial contusions.

And though most of yours
have retreated to their wards, 
warmed by the stupid light 
emanating from infomercials
about the doormats
they have always wanted—
their grey lumps already 
dull and concuss;

aggressive academics 
are pounding their door; 
and the ice in the tub 
has almost melted
as the light too, drips 
upon a painting 
yanked from the hall:
there, a carpenter 
counts the nails 
needed for a fence, 

and a fisherman 
counts the threads 
mending oceanbound nets. 
Surely this Spanish tile respite  
will soon too have its restitution. 

Can you see repair rise now
like a white flag? 
Amidst the broken, 
what other signs  
can we even depend on?

So one of yours falls prey 
to sleep in a golden field 
of pulverized aluminum, 
And it's here, in this empty sea
where you find him still 
holding onto a bloodied shirt,

arm outstretched like a dented pole.

—Christopher Beard