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"The VCR became a fixture in my friends' houses at precisely the moment in our lives we got extremely horny. The pause button allowed for sustained scrutiny of, say, Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High—but there was a cost: her image became grainy and indistinct. When you possess something, inevitably it loses its lustre. The snow falling is Frost, the idealized Vermont; the pizza and the linoleum are truer to the Vermont of my particular childhood."
—Dan Chiasson

Tackle Football

Dan Chiasson
Snow up to our waists and coming down still.
There was a field here once, when we began.
We marked the end zones and set up the goals.

Now nobody can even move, much less tackle.
I am Ganymede fleeing on a temple frieze.
We stand around like lovesick Neanderthals.

We’re Pompeian before Pompeii was hot.
We have the aspect of the classic dead
Or of stranded, shivering astronauts.

It was early in the era of the pause button:
We paused and paused the afternoons away
Indoors, blasting our ballistic erections

At the blurred bikinis of celebrities,
Then, splaying on the linoleum floor,
Awaited the apportioned pizza delivery.

Now, someone has paused us, or so it appears,
But they didn’t pause the snow, or the hour:
As the one gets higher, the other gets later.

Copyright © 2013 by Dan Chiasson. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 30, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Dan Chiasson. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 30, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Dan Chiasson

Dan Chiasson's fourth book of poems, Bicentennial, was published in 2014 by Knopf. He teaches at Wellesley College.

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I lack the rigor of a lightning bolt,
the weight of an anchor. I am
frayed where it would be highly useful—
and this I feel perpetually—to make a point.
 
I think if I can concentrate I might turn sharp.
Only, I don't know how to concentrate—
I know only the look of someone concentrating,
indistinguishable from

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