By Patrick T. Reardon


After clangor parade,

after wailing trombones, teletype drums,

clockwork drum majors and majorettes,

after cymbal clamor of arena-full horde,

pent-up for release,

for rebound off rafters — where he watches —

after rally cheer harmonization,

after “We Want,”

after “Lock,”

after “Fake,”

incantatory demands of a vengeful god —

delirious rapture screed from bully pulpit,

climax after climax of the easiest sort,

unballasted, unfastened,

free as the master’s son,

free as the us of them,

free of sin and tribulation,

free of confession and penance,

free of will, freest freedom.


Sweeping up after, in empty silent cavern,

he sings a simple song, a light melody

of bus rides through night, hope in dark.

Patrick T. Reardon


This poem originally appeared at Spank the Carp on 10.1.20.

Written by : Patrick T. Reardon

For more than three decades Patrick T. Reardon was an urban affairs writer, a feature writer, a columnist, and an editor for the Chicago Tribune. In 2000 he was one of a team of 50 staff members who won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. Now a freelance writer and poet, he has contributed chapters to several books and is the author of Faith Stripped to Its Essence. His website is

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