The Sunday Poem: Olivia Gatwood... Superbowl

Everybody knows what happens next Sunday!   Some will watch the it.  Some take the occasion to go for a hike.  In any case, Superbowl Sunday is just seven days away.  Arm yourself with this incredible piece by Olivia Gatwood.

Olivia has been a part of the Albuquerque Youth Slam team for the past two years and was featured on HBO's Brave New Voices in October of 2010.  She is currently a part of the Albuquerque Slam Team and helped win the Group Piece Championship at the National Poetry Slam in Boston, MA in 2011. She was one of the youngest competitors at the Individual World Poetry Slam in October of 2011. Her first chap book "I've Removed Myself from the Kitchen" was released April 18th, 2011.


I have removed myself from the kitchen
Lost in a heavy beer throat
Spicy lipped and silent
I am confusion in front of a football game
Finding culture shock in a white walled living room
I have never felt so American.
Broad shouldered boys get out of their seats to scream at a TV set,
I keep hoping an athlete will fuck up
Just to see if maybe they’d break the flat screen
And we could sit quiet for a minute.

I find myself giggling at their gullibility
Making myself feel better for not giving a shit,
Until I slip out of my silky ego
And let my thoughts become un-bias.

I question what America would be without football.
There would be no Cowboy’s ashtrays
 For the smokers who never quite made it to varsity
There would be no money in a sport
That’s as much of a corporation as the Catholic church claims not to be
Our country would drop forty pounds
And we would find a different sport to give a completely irrelevant name.

I find it too easy to tell people what to be happy about
Until he tells me that the only times he’s happy is when the Packers win.
The first thought that comes to my mind is a pageant mother
Living vicariously through her spray tanned baby
Regretting that she never won homecoming queen.
The Green Bay Packers is his spray tanned baby.    

I find it too easy to tell people what to be happy about
And forget that we all cling on to something
To make our week suck a little less
Something that makes up for all the bitching
Or gives us a reason to talk to our families
Without arguing.

And while I watch a man turn into a giggling ball of jelly
When his team does what he wants
It doesn’t really matter if I get it or not.
It doesn’t really matter if it’s environmentally friendly
Or a moral act of kindness.
He holds himself so closely to a figurative celebrity
Who might never know the impact they make
On one person’s life
For tossing around a ball.

While without him
They wouldn’t make the 4 million dollars a year
Find a comfy spot on the couch of MTV Cribs
Flaunting decadent driveways
As though the salary is their trophy.

Without each other
They’d be equals.

And although the big bellied boys
Give me a poem
I still find myself avoiding sports bars
And people in over sized jerseys.
My palms sweat at the thought of next year’s super bowl
Sitting awkward in another living room

I feel like a football player at a poetry reading.

And while it’s hard for me to cradle a conversation
With this mammoth of a man
Making broken small talk
Like fucked up origami
It’s messy and uneven
While we both search for something to call common
I know we both know what it’s like
To need something to hold onto.

--Olivia Gatwood

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

This column is published every Sunday morning from the front room of the Flying Star restaurant on Central Ave. in Nob Hill.

Views: 661

Comment by Margaret Randall on January 29, 2012 at 8:20am

What a great poem, Olivia. Epic. The reader starts out thinking it'll be a slam of professional football, nothing more, and then the rest of it sneaks up on her like a perfect baked good! I love the way you surprise us--more than once. Thank you.

Comment by Dee Cohen on January 29, 2012 at 5:25pm

Good poem Olivia. I can almost hear it out loud.I like that the persona comes to self-realizations and acknowledgment of our common screwed up humanity. No one escapes that! Thanks, Dee

Comment by Rich Boucher on January 30, 2012 at 9:51am

Excellent work, Olivia!

Comment by Sandra Vallie on February 1, 2012 at 3:57pm

Thanks for taking yourself to the uncomfortable places and making a poem from them - maybe that's the definition of poetry? I especially love "And although the big bellied boys/give me a poem" (bless their hearts) and "I feel like a football player at a poetry reading." I'm glad when I'm reminded of my prejudices ("I find myself giggling at their gullibility/Making myself feel better for not giving a shit,/Until I slip out of my silky ego") in a gentle and creative way.

Thanks again,


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