“Sidekicks” by Ronald Koertge
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
They were never handsome and often came with a hormone imbalance manifested by corpulence, a yodel of a voice or ears big as kidneys. But each was brave. More than once a sidekick has thrown himself in front of our hero in order to receive the bullet or blow meant for that perfect face and body. Thankfully, heroes never die in movies and leave the sidekick alone. He would not stand for it. Gabby or Pat, Pancho or Andy remind us of a part of ourselves, the dependent part that can never grow up, the part that is painfully eager to please, always wants a hug and never gets enough. Who could sit in a darkened theatre, listen to the organ music and watch the best of ourselves lowered into the ground while the rest stood up there, tears pouring off that enormous nose.
—Ronald Koertge *
* pronounced KUR-chee
from Life on the Edge of the Continent: Selected Poems, 1982
University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Ark.
Copyright 1982 by the Board of Trustees of the
University of Arkansas.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the University of Arkansas Press.
For further permissions information, contact the University of Arkansas Press, 201 Ozark Avenue, Fayetteville, AR 72701.
About the Poet
Ronald Koertge (1940- ) is the author of six poetry collections, including And Through the Woods (World Parade Books, 2008). Koertge grew up in rural Olney, Illinois, and received a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from the University of Arizona.
Learn more about Ron Koertge at The Poetry Foundation.