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portraits of red and grey #13 by James Morehead

July 3, 2011

portraits of red and grey #13

by James Morehead

tbilisi
far from moscow
where the soviet union is an unwelcome conqueror
rows and rows and rows of georgians surround us
we are packed in with belgian tourists
separated and separate from thousands of soccer fans
we are protected from them
                                            they are protected from us
the belgians beside us are vocal colourful anxious

       georgia vs moscow

here soccer is more than a game

the belgians clap and wave bright scarves
and whistle at each player's entrance
the waves of georgians simply sit and stare and clap
politely
quietly
mindful of the first thirty rows
reserved for the military
a green wall silent and disciplined
                                                      unable to move
i try to look in the eyes
of the young ordered soldiers
but their backs never turn to face us
and their faces are lost in trenchcoats and caps

i see a soccer game
it is not unusual
but i feel eyes glancing staring peeking
                                                               envious
as we clap and cheer
the belgians' banners slogans and scarves
our western clothes
a tiny dot of colour
flickering in a bowl of faded green and grey

the score is tied
a dull rumble of excitement
whispered carefully
passes under and over the stadium

moscow is not loved past the thick rows of soldiers

a soccer ball shot
fired and misses
back and forth trampling cleats
a drive towards the goal keep
in the final seconds the belgians are feverish
a soaring arc past outstretched hands
caught in a billowing net

a gun explodes
moscow has lost

we hurry through ignited energy to our bus
surrounded by georgians exuberant in victory
drawing courage from adrenaline
watched by battle stern green eyes

our bus pulls out
creeping through a thick field of frenzy
our canadian flag taped to a window
                                                           spotted by the crowd
who rock our bus and wave and cheer
and for a strange moment
i am trapped inside a glassy cage

Next in portraits of red and grey…

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