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‘Season Tickets’ by Dan Gilmore


If you ever had season basketball tickets, this poem will feel familiar. If you haven’t, it will become so. “Season Tickets,” is the title. It is also the title of the book, by Dan Gilmore. He is a man of many talents, a jazz bassist, biz consultant, novelist, short story writer, raconteur and holds a doctorate in Great Expectations. He just recently has a bunch of poems accepted by a bunch of quarterly poetry publications. I don’t know when because he is afraid to ask said bunch. His novel, “A Howl for Mayflower,” is filled with characters you would like to know because you like them. It is set in Tucson’s Coronado Hotel. The “Mayflower” in the title is a lovely woman, one of the most attractive characters I have met. And I happen to know the narrator personally. You can get it through Amazon, and there is a Kindle edition. “Season Tickets” is out of print, but easy enough to find via Amazon used or Abe.Books.com.

Season Tickets

Fifteen years we had them,

the two seats at the end of Row 29,

Section 20. We were real fanatics

back then, screaming, high-fiving,

thinking this would last forever.

We hardly noticed when,

seven seats down, a woman

in her sixties, a city-league

tennis player, stopped coming.

Turned out she’d had a stroke

and died. Next season the woman’s

husband had a heart attack. During March

Madness the person five seats down —

an irrepressible man with a white

beard and a Greek fisherman’s cap

who called himself Uncle Charlie —

died of throat cancer. Treatable

was the last word we heard him say.

Next season, Uncle Charlie’s nephew,

a despondent accountant who

quoted Rush Limbaugh, disappeared

one day. Died from cancer, we heard

from his wife who sold their tickets

to a woman who was killed jaywalking.

Her seat was empty the entire season

but filled with waiting. JoAn is next

in line, then me. The team is younger

this season, less experienced, losing more

than winning. JoAn and I watch

with greater discernment, nod and clap

instead of scream, take deep breaths

between baskets, and look forward

to time outs. An obese adolescent

sits in the seat next to JoAn now.

He eats hot dogs and yells Go Cats

at odd times. We both wish him well and hope

he lives a full and happy life, but it’s apparent

he knows nothing about the game.