Hits Long with "Falling Short"
A review by Johnny Nineball, reprinted by permission of The Times
With his latest masterpiece "Falling Short," John Schoneboom delivers a devastating numerical attack, pushing conceptual boundaries while remaining within the distinctive stylistic parameters of the performance billiard poetry genre. Nominally a description of a best-of-seven matchup in which the narrator literally "falls short" of victory in five brutal games, "Falling Short" demonstrates an astonishing emotional range that transcends its subject matter.
We get the sense at the beginning of the piece that Schoneboom, while suffering two straight losses to start the match, nonetheless faces the future confidently. With the triumph of the Game Three victory the sense of optimism is tangible, as if anything is, after all, possible. It's Paris in 1871 and we are the proletariat.
The real turning point comes in the fourth stanza, when a stunning loss puts Schoneboom in a daunting 1-3 deficit situation. Here for the first time courage is put to the test and found wanting. The final stanza gives us the deciding game, a shocking rout that utterly destroys any hope of redemption--it's the comeback that never was. Kudos to co-conspirator Abby Schoneboom for the evocative bohemian guitar work that accompanies the vocal performance to poignant effect.