World B. Free


Twenty years ago

I went with my dad

To an old stadium

Gone and dearly departed

If not regretfully

To see my Indiana Pacers who

I loved stridently

At home

In the new Curtis Mathes set that

How were we to know

Lasted far too long


But there in person

For the first time

Was a different kind of feeling

Since they were bad

And most of my focus

Started and stopped on a man named

World B. Free

Although I’m not sure how much of

This poem

Is true

I have no doubt

About World B. Free


It started with his hair

Though it was not exceptional

Except in its lack of exception

Stuck in a time

I may never understand

But all the rest fit too

How much he loved the game

Even when it was an awful game

And tried without ever looking

As if he were trying

Mostly though

The shooting

Like little orange only rainbows

Up and down

With no gold at the end

Only more orange

And then at its beginning

The look that might have been a smile

If he’d known no one could watch


At the end of the game

It seems that no one did

Because watching him play

Might have kept someone from skipping school

Or me from stealing gum

Off the too short racks

Meant to taunt me

At the store

But lots of kids did that

And their parents drank too much

Cheated with a stewardess

Then left

Not because of the children

Even though they’d seen World B. Free

On the court downtown


When I asked later on

My dad said he used to be called Lloyd

That may well be

But he was always World B. to me



 © Gayle Force Press 2002



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