feels so good to break a rack

It feels so good to break a rack of pool balls,
to stand with your legs apart, stroking the cue
between fingers and thumb, aiming into the tight
diamond, then thrusting your pelvis into an explosion
of red and purple and blue--it feels good
to move in on the cue, chalk up your stick,
pound the first ball into the corner pocket
with enough draw to get shape for the next shot.
Then another and another, and you no longer wonder
why some real cool boys skipped school,
how they ended up dead so soon. You can feel them
in your body--the breaking sounds around the room
like the splintering of bones, the firing of Berettas
and Glocks, the jukebox wailing like mothers and fathers.
And now you want to smash every cue in the house,
rip the green felt off each slab of slate,
take a hammer to the balls, a hatchet
to the whorled grain table legs, douse the place
with gasoline and strike a match, watch the smoke
rise through the bright, silent sky--so high
that nothing can reach it. But you fear
the cloud would rain down as ash,
feed trees to harvest for more pool halls.
So you stand there knocking in balls,
until your stick feels light, innocent.
Then you rack them up again.

[Terry Lucas, 'Break', from Best New Poets 2012]

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