On the Question of Enes Kanter

How do heroes take a stand above the skyline?
How face off sharp machinery that spades the earth,
Converting humans into demons by the roots—
Machines that grind distinctive features off a face
To turn men to a twitch of its assembly line,
Each be a bitch that wills to work for demon worth
And wants to lace their fellows down in quaking boots
To mud them into cud that dams the human race?

What kind of power, mental grit, what strength of mind,
Character, resilience and clarity,
What mettle, backbone, upright personality,
What heart breeds men of class and dignity,
What makes one person show the crux of humankind?
What safe hands block the withering shots of perfidy?
What arms have reached to outstretch lazy luxury?
What independent legs have out-leapt prize and fee?

Against the present’s odd perversions, why stand up?
Why does Enes Kanter choose to be above,
Why not lie in seemly comfort with the rest?
Such questions are below this man’s nobility.
Is his the drunken swagger of the courage cup?
The vain adrenalin of winning push and shove?
Another marker on the statistician’s test?

Each printed pump jumps from heart-felt profundity.
Each tweet and video swings high validity.
How opposition drops to anonymity
When deep soul’s fair compassion is set free.



Damian Robin is a writer and editor living in the United Kingdom.

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10 Responses

  1. James A. Tweedie

    We can only hope that Enes Kanter’s courageous and unapologetic public stance will inspire other athletes to do the same. Sadly, China’s brazen tentacles now hold major American sport, media, industry, and higher education in the grip of a Faustian bargain where unprincipled leaders have traded both their souls and our national birthright for a mess of pottage.

    Mr. Kanter is more than worthy of this poem, written in his honor.

    Damian, I hope you will find a way to share this poem with him.

    • Damian Robin

      “Sadly, China’s brazen tentacles now hold major American sport, media, industry, and higher education in the grip of a Faustian bargain where unprincipled leaders have traded both their souls and our national birthright for a mess of pottage.”

      Florid prose that gets the point across.

      I’ve passed on the baton of getting these messages and poem to Enes Kanter to Evan Mantyk. His knowledge of internet may be better – a tweet maybe.

  2. Paul Freeman

    I expect Enes Kanter’s words and deeds to gain further traction, what with the current situation with Peng Shuai which ladies’ tennis is getting behind.

    It shows how redundant the ‘Shut up and dribble’ mantra is.

    Some years back I wrote a short story on the topic at Enes’s heart. It didn’t find a market or publisher.

    Thanks for the read, Damian – glad to see it published.

  3. Damian Robin

    “It shows how redundant the ‘Shut up and dribble’ mantra is.”

    Neatly put.

    Do you have a link to your short story, Paul. On your own website perhaps. I’d like to read it.

  4. Peter Hartley

    Damian – I liked this poem from the first line in, the way that you have broadened the imagery from the usual “stick one’s head above the parapet” to “take a stand above the skyline” to encompass the whole horizon in the metaphor, which is maintained right down to “To mud them into cud that dams the earth.” And “What makes one person show the crux of humankind.” And wouldn’t Mr Kanter be proud to know that he has prompted such superlatives in your writing. I hope Evan DOES find a way of communicating such a strong message of support to its subject.

    • Damian Robin

      Thank you very much, Peter. I surprised myself with what came out. I had not heard of Enes Kanter – maybe becos I seldom trawl the news (so called) media but also because I don’t think it’s been much in UK media. I looked at the video tweets after Mr Mantyk suggested an ode to the player. His stand being new to me and seeing all his posts in one go, I was very moved.
      Nice to have some of the subtleties I had not noticed pointed out. Valuable. Thanks.

      • Damian Robin

        And, yes, I hope the support gets through to him. No matter how confidently he projects himself, he has taken up a pressured position on a front line.
        I have put it on my FaceBook and will put it on my website and other poetry outlets I am involved with. Maybe I’ll join Instagram ! Maybe even work out some of the chicanery ofTwitter !

  5. Damian Robin

    Enes Kanter becomes an American citizen and adds ‘Freedom’ to his name.

    Welcome New American Citizen Enes Kanter Freedom

    He pastes an image of his face on a picture of the Statue of Liberty

    Damian Robin
    Although this picture is going to the jokey side of heroism, Enes Kantor is still a one in a million (a social millionaire) —– A patriot, a hero, standing tall and upright / Pushing against the darkness, holding up the light. ——- see more praise here —– https://classicalpoets.org/…/a-poem-on-enes-kanter…/…


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