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Nashwaak Review - Volume 9-10

Interrogatory (or, Disillusionment of Eight O'clock)

by Joseph Griffin

And where are you these days Dickie Duff?
When we played softball that summer at the Basies' school
under the big bridge - are you as genial and hardy
and gentle as you were then? And when
they sent you to Montreal to wear la sainte flanell
and you'd feed big Jean at the goalmouth with pucks
on the blade of his stick, did you ever think
it would come to this?

And you Doug Harvey what would you think?
Cool as winter glass, repelling checks
like a magnet turned the other way
in charge of the play, alert to where nine skaters were
controlling the game like no one ever had
progenitor to Bobby Orr - his master perhaps -
but passed from memory because you drank too much
what would you say to-day?

And where are you now Darryl Sittler and Lanny MacDonald
who rushed roughshod end to end
you smooth as silver, you red-mustachioed
roughneck that you were - and in a losing cause -
and Ballard half the time on your backs
and the Eagle into your back pockets?
Did you rue the big bucks you lost
born too soon for the boom?

And you Brian Trottier, prairie Islander
tough as nails, hockey bred in your bones
swift and shifty as mercury on slate
what were you thinking that time you went on TV
between periods to state: two nights before
when you drove Bob Gainey into the boards
elbow high you'd done a grave ill
and were sorry? Was anyone listening that night?

And was anyone listening to you Mike Modano
when you told us what we'd seen for years
but couldn't understand: we don't respect each other?
Did they ride you in the room that time
or did they think: was there ever a union
whose brothers were in such disunion
as to cut each other down like scabs
at a picket line?

And how is it that a small man
in a high collar and a red neck
-tie- with white dots or a purple neck-tie
with green stripes could night after night
(puffed up by the straightest of straightmen)
delight slighting the Swedes or was it the Russians
or the Finns or the Czechs to a rollicking nation
and its eager young boys?