Saturday, September 21, 2013

Poem about Painesville, Ohio and Mike Celizic

I'm going to do a poetry reading October 1st at the wine bar/restaurant in Painesville called "Your Vine or Mine." So thinking about Painesville and my old friend Mike Celizic from Leroy Township, just outside of Painesville, I came up with this new poem:

“I’m from Painesville, with an Emphasis on the Pain!” An Elegy for Mike Celizic

When I first met Mike Celizic
I listened to his funny, practiced spiel:

“I’m Mike Celizic!
I live on Paine Road,
Near Paine Creek and Paine Hollow,
Down the Road from Paine Falls.

I’m from Painesville . . .
With an emphasis on the pain.”

This mad Croatian, harry as an ape,
Politics to the right of Attila the Hun,
Strange mix of confidence and its lack.

Mike invented a persona, one he marketed
With great success:
“The man with the hat.”
“I take off my hat for nobody,” he crowed,
Sports commentator extraordinaire.

It was shtick. It was marketing.
And it worked!

Mike the author of seven books,
A radio sports guy,
MSNBC columnist,
TV sports guy.

Only I and a handful of others
Knew him as the clumsy often fearful
Factory worker’s son,
The boy who cleaned up in his uncles’ Leroy Tavern,

The insecure guy with the fancy fedora,
The guy that we loved
In spite of the bluster and show.

Bob Coughlin
September 2013

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