Poem: Nosebleed (or Getting Hit in the Face with a Football when I was Twelve)

Waiting my turn in line on the field,

Standing in torrential rain,

My extremities numb in the winter cold,

I get hit but I feel no pain.


The incoming projectile slides through my hands,

And strikes me right in the beak,

 I run to the next marker, wait in line again,

The boy in front stares, unable to speak.


“What?” I say, as he looks at my shirt,

“Yes I know I have a big belly.”

The boy shakes his head and nudges his friend,

Who’s surprised but at least he can tell me.


“Good grief Miles, what happened to you?

Look at the state of your shirt,

You’re covered in blood, it’s all over your face,

Are you all right, dude? Does it hurt?”


I take a look down at my football jersey,

Stained bright red with blood,

I touch my lip just below my nose,

And feel the haemorrhaging flood.


“Go up to the clubhouse,” the coach advises,

Get Keith to look at your nose,

“You look like you got punched in the face, poor bugger,

Get checked out, let me know how it goes.”


I trudge off the field, dejected of course,

I can’t play football today,

Struck in the face by catch I missed,

And I still can’t feel any pain.


“Oh yeah,” yells Ryan, “go up to the club,

Show your face to the girls,

Chicks dig scars, they’ll be all over you, Miles,

You’re the luckiest guy in the world.”


Hey, that’s true, this isn’t so bad,

The girls will all rush to my aid,

Female attention is better than football,

Cheer up, Miles, you’ve got it made.


I enter the clubhouse like a wounded soldier,

Returning in glory from war,

But none of the girls even notice I’m there,

Even scarred I’m not the type they’re looking for.


So I buy some chips and a lemonade,

Sit outside and watch the others train,

Quiet, alone, I imagine things differently,

My nose stuffed full of toilet paper, there in the rain.



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