Bronco Stadium I
Below is my poem, "Bronco Stadium I," which plays off of Matthew Barney's Cremaster I, but this is my version of it, not Barney's. The depiction of the parachutist actually occurred at the inaugural game played at the concrete Bronco Stadium (the old wooden stadium that had an east-west alignment was torn down after the 1969 season, replaced by the current stadium that has a north-south alignment), except that the parachutist in real life landed nearer mid-field than in the end zone. He did suffer permanent paralysis as a result of his fall.
Oh, the Twyla Tharp reference is indeed to her dance, "66," which was commissioned by the Pirelli Tire Company.
This poem will appear in my forthcoming book, Pictures That Got Small.
Bronco Stadium 1
This is my Bronco Stadium,
before its inaugural game in 1970,
Boise State College vs. Chico State College,
with an ordinary green astro-turf.
Circling the rubber-asphalt track,
a hundred Twyla Tharp human
Pirelli tires, all arms and legs
and radial treads, run, bounce, turn,
all madly wily, an enclosed Route 66.
The tires’ spin and run never stop.
The narrative starts with the sky-jumper,
delivering the game ball, floats
to the stadium, as wind vortices sheer
across the field, vacuuming the air
billowing his parachute. He is goalpost
high when the chute collapses,
folds on itself, as a woman’s white
skirt, and he falls hard on the turf,
maybe at thirty miles an hour,
destroying his knees, his vertebra,
a stunted stop, and above him
are a thousand more jumpers,
targeting the end zone. In the end zone,
rising from the dressing of the parachute
grows a soft feather of grass, muhly
grass, purpling at its pulp,
and then more sturdy saw grass
grows, taller than the fallen
sky-jumper, who’s still waiting
for the Pirelli tires to stop rolling,
for the ambulance to arrive, who can
only raise his arm, cutting his palms
against the serrated edges of grass,
and the grasses spread through
the end zone, down the field’s length,
until Bronco Stadium becomes
an islanded Idaho Everglades,
genital-less, a grassy sex of spores
and tendrils, seeds and germination.
The sky jumper on the ground
is paralyzed, and he will stay
that way the rest of his life.
But before the other sky
jumpers land, the wind warms
again, giving them a sure
current to fall into, and as they
fall into the grass, as their chutes
come undone and float away,
they go avian, losing their harnesses
and carabiners and clips,
losing their penises and vulvas,
losing their mammalian
outward sex, their breasts, their nipples,
even losing their hair, their fingers,
until their bodies are only feathered
membranes by which sperm
and egg touch and fall on their own.