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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 10: October 2021
Poem: 246 words
By Robert Eugene Rubino

Nor Was He The Marlboro Man

They were at Yankee Stadium
father & son
to celebrate the son turning thirteen 
at Yankee Stadium not to see the Yankees
but to see the football Giants
which is what New Yorkers still called those Giants
to distinguish them from the baseball Giants 
even though the baseball Giants had abandoned New York for San Francisco
three long seasons ago.

They were at Yankee Stadium
father & son
to see the football Giants—their Giants
the son disappointed, crushed really, to learn Conerly—his Conerly 
nursing an injury from the previous week’s heroics
wouldn’t quarterback the team this day

—the father secretly glad shamefully jealous of Conerly
with whom he shared a birth year but nothing else
nothing a teenage son would find heroic.
Unlike Conerly
the father wasn’t the Giants quarterback 
nor was he the Marlboro Man.

They were at Yankee Stadium
father & son
the father sad, shocked really, to see Gifford—his Gifford 
tackled so cruelly so violently
Gifford’s blue helmeted head bouncing 
like a dribbled basketball on the street-tough turf
the vision of Gifford’s beautiful body carried off on a stretcher
providing a blinding flashback to luckless friends at Luzon 
fifteen short years earlier

—the son shamefully glad secretly jealous
of Gifford’s toughness & courage & movie-star looks
jealous of Gifford’s gridiron grace Gifford’s ability to inspire
awe & admiration & actual cheerleader cheers & tears from the father
—nothing a scrawny awkward buck-toothed bookworm teenager
could ever hope to inspire.

Robert Eugene Rubino
Issue 10, October 2021

was nominated for a creative nonfiction Pushcart Prize for “Spinning Shame Into Nostalgia” (Hippocampus, November 2016). He has published prose and poetry in various online and print literary journals, including The Esthetic Apostle, Raw Art Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, The Write Launch, Cathexis Northwest, High Shelf Press, Gravitas, Forbidden Peak Press, and Haunted Waters Press. He’s old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and smart enough to solve the New York Times crossword puzzle on Mondays (other days not so much). He lives in Northern California.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Hollow Be Thy Name, a poem in Issue 12 of KYSO Flash (Summer 2019)

Owl House, a poem at Haunted Waters Press

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