An Informal Ode on a Paul George Dunk


This is how you unhinge yourself.
How you harness whatever inhuman thing
lives at the base of your spine, inside
marrow and nerve endings and bloody lengths of muscle that
tense and explode like you imagine plastic explosive must
in the hair of a moment before it turns itself
inside out. This is wild sweet extension, a reaching
out and up, a cutting inwards and outwards.

And we watch.

The intensity of the blast heat makes its fragility
strange, a solar flare. But like a flare
its ripples travel and there it is: reborn.

It reverberates endlessly through thousands of windows
and that single dying moment multiplies into
a bottomless infinity. Watch the legs, the scissor kicks.
How at full extension he’s somehow
reaching up while falling down. The hunched pause
with arms crooked before the right foot
starts its stalk back up the court. And there,
at the very beginning, the way he cocks his
left arm back, springloaded. It all folds in on itself.
The end is the beginning is the end is the beginning.

I’d like to think it lives like this forever somewhere,
spooling ceaselessly, the killjar sealing again and again
while we watch the ether do its quick and inexorable work.
And we watch and watch until it boils itself down
into something concentrated — some ambergris or
ichor or heavy water, something unexpected that rises from
muscle, blood and bone twisting through the air,
in slow motion, in endless repetition, from a reverse angle
from the baseline.

And we watch and watch and watch.


* – Thanks to Pat Truby for the use of his awesome animation of Paul George’s dunk

Steve McPherson

Steve McPherson is an editor for Hardwood Paroxysm and his writing has appeared at Grantland, Rolling Stone, A Wolf Among Wolves, The Cauldron, TrueHoop, Complex, Narratively, Polygon and elsewhere. His Twitter handle is @steventurous.