This space wouldn't thrive as much without a semi-regular supply of poetry so we've called upon the first Poet Laureate of Plymouth, one of the earliest loyal fans of SWARM Mag and our friend Stephan Delbos to deliver us from this specific medium shortage. Accompanied by illustrations by Czech artist Mikoláš Zika. Enjoy a piece tailored to and inspired by our current umbrella topic – FRONT RUNNER


We live behind

a ruined stadium.



I dream of weeping on ice skates,

Olympiad chorus swarming,

knife-bearing ceremony;

dream of burglars tearing books

and wake to the slumber of my son,


of midnight hockey rinks hovers in the house.



Be a good sport.



International pastime

eradicate silence

w/ idle syllables

weather, sports.


4am airport taxi pickup.

Interrogation: Patriots,

Red Sox, Bruins—

cartoon clubs.


Why not quiet?

Why not speak of death?

Why not the poetry

of government’s murderous intent?


Outside the end zone

of habitual exchange 

I loiter on the grass




Life is sports a choice a voice a vote to choke I saw a man with a dead basketball on his head the super fanatics devote your life opiate of the masses false sense of communal security billions of dollars teachers and sports pros who makes more money and impact?  

Ritual #73: Saturday morning World Wrestling Federation on TV. Enthralling characters and epic battles, per the Federation’s plan. A ninja who had tattoo ideograms in neat rows across his face and chest. That captured me, not tattoos, but the idea of being covered in language, taken over, buried in it, awash with words. I want to write myself out of existence, like zipping up a body bag of invisibility. I want to cover my tracks with words. I want to be nothing. Only to exist in what’s left over.  

Two teams two skins the sin of the win I saw in Ohio a man in summer costumed all Buckeye gear, his car maroon and streamers passing while I ate a burrito the size of a football.




Sports are a virus

Elections are sports

Life is life or death

Time is a wager

Center stager

Constant talk


Silence walking

Sports of course

Horse trading

Cheater pumpkin-eater

Put on your rally cap

The dug out

Pissed my pants in left field

Highway to the danger zone

11th-inning stretch




A poem human highlight film

A 21-line salute

A poem in Atlanta, GA

Tape for the knuckle line

Breaks a poem with enjambed thumb

A poem for Dominique Wilkens

A poem with a tight fade

A poem on the parquet

Backwards written poem A

 Poem with a pump fake




All she left when she left:

a chest X-ray from Arles,


where she died, green-tongued,

lungs gurgling, for two


getaway days. I smoked 

at the window, boiled


tea she couldn’t swallow.

Outside, shouting


men and bulls

rumbled like a river flooding


streets to the rubble

stadium of matadors; sword-


blades in the unconsidered sun

or lamplight I see through her bones.



I grew up in a house without a living

                     room television.

I grew up in a house that did not watch sports.

I grew up in a house with no home


         I played basketball.

I played baseball.

I played soccer.

I ran cross-country.

My mother would drive me to the field

and watch from the car.

I understand but cannot relate

to the behavior of sports fans.

We all want to belong.

We all want to be

part of something bigger

than a few meek feet of skin and bone.

The legend of the champion.

The grief of the gladiator

forever rehearsing lost triumph.

I grew up in a house with no home team.



We die behind

a ruined stadium.


TEXT / Stephan Delbos

Stephan Delbos is the first Poet Laureate of Plymouth, Massachusetts. His poetry, essays, and translations have been published internationally. He is the editor of From a Terrace in Prague: A Prague Poetry Anthology (Litteraria Pragensia, 2011). His play Chetty’s Lullaby, about trumpet legend Chet Baker, was produced in San Francisco in 2014. His play Deaf Empire, about Czech composer Bedřich Smetana, was produced by Prague Shakespeare Company in 2017. His co-translation of The Absolute Gravedigger, by Czech poet Vítězslav Nezval, was awarded the PEN/Heim Translation Grant in 2015 and was published by Twisted Spoon Press. He is also co-translator of Nezval’s Woman in the Plural (Twisted Spoon Press, 2021), and the translator of Tereza Riedlbauchová’s Paris Notebook (The Visible Spectrum, 2020). He is the author of the poetry chapbook In Memory of Fire (Cape Cod Poetry Review, 2016) and the poetry collections Light Reading (BlazeVOX, 2019) and Small Talk (Dos Madres, 2021). A Senior Lecturer at Charles University and Anglo-American University, Stephan is also a founding editor of B O D Y (


Graduate of scenography at KALD DAMU under the guidance of Robert Smolík. As an author of stages, costumes, puppet concepts, etc., he has collaborated with, for example, the Lampion Theater (Josef Lady’s Czech Christmas, Puzzle Mystery), the VOSTO5 Theater (Colonization – a New Beginning, Awakening), the Wariot Ideal ensemble (Flyers, Depths), the National Theater / Laterna magic (Garden), Experimental space NoD (Moonlight Sonata No. 11, Fantasy !, Bible 2), Damúza Studio, Ostrava Theater Stará aréna, Drama Studio Ústí nad Labem … It was part of the author’s productions for the Disk Pavilón Theater leaving a 49 bar.

He is a member of the art group TABULA RASA and the country band DINGO.

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