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A Prodigy In Pieces

A boy and board in Brooklyn
bedeviled by the breath of baroque battles
bemused with a belligerent brain beauty
and befriended by battlefield bravado, 
the chessmen championed his ego
wickedly warring to a visionary's voodoo,
those soldiers of black and white instrumentality
would be the boy's unfailing family
never gainsaying his genius, an army of absolute loyalty, 
they will conceal his swindle, prompt the pitfall
accept the sacrifice, pushing panic and pungent pall
cornering the broken king, forcing a psyche crawl,
discovering a chess set at age six
Bobby learned the lines and logic tricks
teaching himself the game's romanesque rudiments
kindling kinship with kings in their catacombs
of collected tomes, cracking their bones
admiring their thrones,
competing in clubs in sweaters and corduroys
against polished professionals with refined resumes
Fischer would find the pin of their personalities
compell them to comply to his surely tempo
create a division between vagabond and virtuoso
and teach the meaning of wonderful woe,
he would have his own U.S. crown by 14,
be recognized as an International Master at 15
and exited earnestly from high school at 16
because, well, why stall spectacular talent, 
after a decade of ravaging every opponent
and publishing several books like a chess poet
the World Title was waiting to test his manners,
Bobby's nemesis, the Soviet saboteurs
had one of their pawn ponies on the podium for 24 years,
since childhood the Communists had wrought
to undermine the upgrowth of this American upstart
he was an imperial demon with a maverick heart,
the unholy Soviet charade was in peril
their image, their nonsense, their ill will,
jealous of his messianic thrill,
Iceland, summer of 1972, an epic on the rocks,
a global audience geared for heady shocks
politicians, pop stars and proteges following Fischer the fox
deep into the forest fire of his tortured fortune,
from his Mother he learned how to haggle forlorn
as Challenger his choice of attack would be crisis and steel horn,
he threatened the Federation with absence
if the prize money wasn't increased at once!
by match time the purse doubled from donations anonymous, 
Spassky Vs. Fischer, U.S.A. Vs. U.S.S.R., freedom versus communism, 
the match, best of 24, the victor, Independence or Collectivism, 
in game One Fischer choked on classic chess catechism
forgot his lines and suffered like a school boy,
the world was dumbfounded, was the loss a ploy,
for game Two Bobby was a no show, perhaps a broken toy,
the forfeit gave Spassky a daunting two point lead,
Fischer, insisting that cameras interfered with his head
and that audience din was a dread
said he'd abandon the battle
if his demands weren't met on the double!
even Henry Kissinger pleaded for no more trouble,
like a divine pariah he returned for the third game
possessed with a prodigious flame,
discipline and intuition put Spassky on heels of shame
Fischer took the third game like an unbothered boss
while the Russian would struggle with loss after loss,
henceforth the abrassive American played with godly gloss
winning six more times with eleven intimidating draws,
Boris Spassky and the Soviet machine were beleaguered by flaws
and conquered single handedly by a boy born for chess wars,
when Bobby died in 2008
he was an undefeated Grandmaster, unparalleled great,
he declined millions of dollars from the corporate plate,
living reclusively, paranoia and anger shrouding him,
ironically, he defeated the United States with true American vim
two superpowers beat, by one man, what would Death do with him -


Copyright © Justin Bordner | Year Posted 2017


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  1. Date: 1/17/2017 5:53:00 AM

    your biographical masterpiece kept me riveted from start to finish. You haven't lost your Midas touch dear Justin, I have missed you and your poetry, I am glad to see your still the same Justin I knew, sending you loving hugs, I hope all is well x
  1. Date: 1/15/2017 12:28:00 AM

    Hi Justin, This is an "Epic" write indeed. I was drawn to each and every word. I've never really understood the game of "chess" but I'm fascinated by those that do play the game. As always you have a penned a well written write. A without a doubt seven:-) Alexis
  1. Date: 1/14/2017 8:20:00 PM

    Just wanted to tell you that I read this amazing poem to my dad, and he was quite impressed. It took him back to the excitement when he was following him during his matches. And yes, the title is absolutely brilliant, Justin. I love you to pieces! Have a beautiful week full of inspiration and joy. Always, Laura
  1. Date: 1/14/2017 10:18:00 AM

    That's a great title. Such a fierce, brilliant soul Bobby Fischer was. My dad, on rides going up to church would often talk about Fischer and sometimes we would pass the neighborhood he lived in in South Pasadena and he would talk about his life. His triumphs in the world of chess are definitely worthy of an enlightening and artful ode such as this. Love the phrase "played with godly gloss" and I love that ending! Will be sharing this with my dad and see what he thinks! Always, Laura