Encountering Poetry / March 2012 (Issue 16)

On Encountering Jean-Claude Van Damme

by Andrew Barker

He swayed across the dance-floor, stumbled,
          spastic of step,
                    myopic of eye.
Wrapped in a shell-suit, sneakers swaddling feet
                                      like a new-born baby’s mittens.
           This man was not young when I was no longer young.
           This man was famous for a while.
           The most famous man in Belgium.
Each step a Frankenstein parody,
                    a mockery
                              of the man he was thought to be.
Until, hosing down the urinal bowls, his protector appeared
and called
    “Jean, we have to go.”
“No. No. No. I want the bitch. I want the bitch.”
                  His underwear adjusted by his bouncer he bowled
                                                             broken-backed to the dance-floor.

And the film he’d make that month was seen by less
Than this late night entertainment, to the amused
But strangely impressed.
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