Coach Dreams of Being on Vacation

Did I… did we… hear correctly?

Did 45 really say that there is no room for hate in America?

Oh he’ll get out of this one by saying he only hates those who hate, and that’s why he is justified in attacking any who disagree with him. Look it up in Roget’s: Synonym for hate — to disagree.

Sigh. And that prompts my gratitude for the abundance of care, kindness, and well-wishes as I take a few months to recover from cervical surgery.

Julie and I do indeed live in an alternative, deeply caring world that won’t quit within the depersonalized world at large. Thinking small is paradoxically thinking big.

I grew up in one of the strangest worlds where hate thrives: Sports. I have never understood the emotional investment in one’s team winning or losing. As my father once told a sportswriter, “I love this game. What I don’t understand is why all these people place their emotional well-being in my and my team’s hands. Let’s care about what really matters.”

How have we turned our political party into sports franchises?

Coach Dreams of Being On Vacation

Swathed in Number 4 Coppertone, Coach
sits in his beach chair, watching
the Atlantic roll itself toward his toes,
his belly white as a gull’s,
the sun playing him tight.

He listens to the waves, the children squealing,
the stockbrokers still talking big bucks
as their wives try to coax them offshore,
and the teenagers laughing as they roll
under the cool water or whispering

as they bake next to each other, fingers
laced. Suddenly he wants to buy
some jeans, open his shirt, take
his wife across state lines.
But his brain’s a gym.

Every move he makes draws jeers.
Even here, dreaming himself a surfer,
builder of sandcastles, a stud
who strolls the shoreline, or just
leaning back into the sand to feel

the salt air sift across his body,
he can hear the catcalls — “You’re
a bum, Coach. You’re a lousy bum.”

–Jack Ridl

First published in Poetry East
Anthologized in Men of Our Time (University of Georgia Press)
Subsequently published in Losing Season (CavanKerry Press)

Sure bummed about having to cancel The Red Dock Reading. Mark Hiskes and D.L. James will join me next year, the second Tuesday in August.

The reading with Greg Rappleye at The Book Nook and Java Shop in Montague has been postponed until the holiday season. Date and time TBA.

A fascinating new memoir in poems, Portals by Nancy Owen Nelson, has just been released from Kelsey Books. “We enter Nelson’s liminal dreamscape into poems populated by Becket, Godot, Hemingway, even Johnny Cash,”–Kelly Fordon, author of the recently published Goodbye Toothless House.

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

6 thoughts on “Coach Dreams of Being on Vacation

  1. Welcome back, Jack!!! Great to have you back online and hope you are on a good recovery path.
    Thinking abundantly and mightily of you, Phyllis

    • Thank you soooooo much. Things are slow but not regressing and
      seem to be progressing.
      If you want to connect again, I could do that on a limited basis, such
      as a half hour.
      Hi to Len!

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