Archive for Poetry

Poem: Rube Waddell Is Dying

Rube Waddell Is Dying

Rube Waddell Is Dying

He pitched as though he were throwing fallen apples at a knothole.
Then again, he threw fallen apples at a knothole
As though he were throwing fallen apples at a knothole.
For there is no mystery in the literal, no apology.
Which is why they called him an idiot,
Which is what he was.

And yet … “a sanitorium in San Antonio.”
At least there is melody in that,
And in melody, there is sometimes mercy.

You could fit his desires in a pillbox —
Trinkets that shone and crude origami
Made from his paychecks.
That should makes these moments
Simpler and less freighted.
With the blood wrung from his lips,
And his lungs as fat as an archdiocese.

We take him to be wreathed in unknowing,
And for us, the living, the full of mind,
Nothing quakes us like a man
Who doesn’t grasp that he should be afraid.

Perhaps, though, the hushed features
Belie the knowing.
Maybe he is a beast who wanders off to find
A dark and final thicket. This is
What passes for a wish.

Or perhaps his only regret is that
He can’t rise from this bed and
Drop the ball once more,
Let it roll dumbly and elegiacally off the mound,
Swivel his head toward the road
And hurtle through the outfield and over the fence
After the passing fire engine,
His cap fluttering behind him like a wasp,
Which is the other thing he liked to chase.

His bones shall make a fine mill whistle.

Omar Vizquel and His Magic Car — A Poem


Omar Vizquel and his magic car take flight toward Opening Day
Past the downtrodden January, where the blankets of snow do lay
All the players have found their teams
The fans are ready, too, it seems
To grass and sun and won-pennant dreams
Omar will show us the way.

The car is the color of marigolds, an illicit reference to Spring
‘Tis the color of his gilded trophy gloves and AL Championship ring
He obeys his lease down to the letter
The less miles that it incurs, the better
His shirt — a silken Cosby sweater
Both shiny and wondrous things.

Fly away with Vizquel, this night, to a place where batted balls soar
He’ll buy you a beer and a nacho plate, he’ll even let you keep score
A place where the pastime is always forever
Where shortstop can be played by whoever
Where stabbing ground balls is an easy endeavor
You’ll swear you had been there before.

(h/t to Internet baseball wizard darenw)

Andrew Dice Clay Interprets Baseball Poetry: F.P. Adams

In this edition of Andrew Dice Clay Interprets Baseball Poetry, the Dice Man sets his sights on the famous piece by Franklin Pierce Adams, Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.

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A GIF and a Poem for Josh Donaldson



they tell us (josh donaldson)
to live in the moment,
each moment

never stopping to think
living a million lives of
blood-blind courage

to twerk like nobody’s watching
to toss out our receipts
to have another

they tell us, the old men
with the hang gliders and cocaine
who cried yolo before yolo

but you and I know
(josh donaldson)
these men are fools

because the moment in the air
means nothing
without the moment



Regarding Conversion Rates in Appleton, Wisconsin


Long ago, but not so long ago, you were a man. The Man.

You owned jewels and gold and belts made of both. You were champion of two realms. You cultivated victories with leveraged buyouts, but also with your bare God-damned hands. You would use either in any situation. You personified the largest amount of money our stupid brains could imagine.

Look at your right hand. You slapped Hulk Hogan with that hand once. You balled it up and shoved it into Jimmy Snuka’s solar plexus. You put the Macho Man to sleep with it. Look at that hand. Find the biggest callus. It’s the one you earned by gripping countless folding chairs. Your hand is Wisconsin. That callus is Appleton. That’s where you are. You may find yourself in another part of the world.

What was once 5th Avenue and Wall Street is now Lake Winnebago and the Fox River Mall. Old Navy is probably having a sale, but not on sport coats with dollar signs. Maybe try Men’s Wearhouse? Virgil and limousines are now airport shuttles and some guy named Dan. This road smells like cows. Dan smells like Old Golds. These people are salt of the earth people. This is America’s heartland. Heartland is an old Gaelic word meaning “armpit.”

But all is not lost, for you are about to observe baseball. It may be Single-A baseball for a team with a terrible farm system, but, you know. The grass is still green, the balls are still white. The fans are also quite white, but never mind. You’re still a big deal in Appleton, so you’ll be treated like royalty. Like a king. The King of Appleton. Wisconsin. So enjoy your Large Domestic Beer and Build-Your-Own-Sandwich. This is how kings feast amongst the field corn.


Dave Kingman, A Small-Town Bowling Alley


Dave Kingman, a small-town
bowling alley with
wood paneling petrified
into real wood
food service staple colors
magenta and teal
coalesced into a single ashen hue
the treble of hair metal
whispered overhead
through tinny speakers

Dave Kingman, a rattle of knocked-down
bowling pin Budweisers
blurry group photographs all
duckfaces and teeth
eyeshadow twinkling like dying stars
twittering with bird-laughter
from the backs of rhinos
casting out slow drunken mute
furtive looks
eyes hunting for eyes

Dave Kingman, a plain of stained
colorless carpet
the urine-soaked restroom tile
the empty paper towel dispenser
hands wiped on jeans
and learning the chick with the tube top
 left ten minutes ago
the branches whithering
tomorrow already pressing
at the temples

Dave Kingman, a single pull-tab
at the end of the night
torn mechanically
liberty bell
liberty bell

A Hymn by Chesterton for the Royals

The Kansas City Royals have lost seven in a row. The worst of it (so far) was a humiliating four-game sweep at the hands of the Angels, a series in which the Angels started Jason Vargas, Jerome Williams, Joe Blanton, and, perhaps worst of all, Billy Buckner. Buckner was a former Royals prospect traded away back in 2007, who, until this last game, had not pitched in the majors since 2010. He shut the Royals out for five innings and was promptly sent back down.

Enough of the misery! These are hard times in Royals-land. After years of hard times. It may take divine intervention to restore the wholeness of “Royals Nation” or whatever stupid name people want to give to collective Royals fandom. In hopes of restoration let us turn to the hymnal words of G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), the early twentieth-century English Catholic writer, whose works span philosophy, theology, history, cultural and social criticism, and, yes, poetry, on this day of Chesterton’s birth, which I totally knew about and did not need to be told by someone on Twitter. “Coincidences are life’s spiritual puns,” indeed.

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A GIF of, and a Poem for, Joey Votto

Today when I got on the bus
I said to myself,
“It is like I don’t exist.”
At the doctor’s office on a papered table
in my boxer briefs
I was like,
It is like I do not exist.
When I am at home
in an armchair
when my mouth is full of food
or dong
when I pull a well-worn dollar bill
from my Genuine Leather wallet
wherever there are books,
websites, weirdos, women,
or dullards — or ducks, really: ducks
make me feel this way —
whenever I watch a drug dealer
teem w/ existential angst
on TV
I want to be a drug dealer and
it is like I do not exist.

When Joey Votto
wants to break a bat but does not
when Joey Votto curses himself —
in high socks, no less! —
when I noticed the elastic of knee-high knickers
at Joey Votto’s knees
when I closed my eyes
and saw nothing but Joey Votto’s
hairline it is like
I do exist,
am alive, am a part of everything
that there is
to be a part of
which is only one thing:
this world of shit
w/o which nothing would exist.

Would that Joey Votto will want to break a bat
at those moments
when I wonder
if there is life on other planets
for I am not large,

cannot get past
this earth.

My Year with the Houston Astros: Part 2


Elimination number: 128

Boiled down to the bones of it, it’s just you and the game. You try to exert your will, but you ultimately bend to its own. You are at the mercy of the game.  The Gods and the numbers have conspired against you. Your fate has been written.

Not many things are on your side. Your opponents aren’t on your side. The writers  are not particularly on your side. Recently, history has not been on your side. There are still some fans and some interested parties with a rooting interest in your achievements, but — now more than ever — you are alone in your journey.

Save for chance. Chance will always be your companion. Chance will not always be welcome, mind you. He will be fickle. Ground balls will grow eyes. Wind patterns will change. Umpires will miss calls. Chance will seem like your enemy.

But it is not always a parasite — a leach. Sometimes it will buy rounds all night. Chance knows that if it only took, and never gave, it would cease being itself. It would be something else. Damnation, perhaps.

Others seem to be in better graces with it. For some, it lays nothing but golden eggs. For you, it is as inefficient as a 100-year-old house.

But it still gives. It has too. It gave last night, for what it could. Chance doesn’t always come to aid at your greatest time of need, but it still comes.

Chance knows there is no Goliath without a David.

Poetry, Translation by Pete Rose


In which Pete Rose translates towering works of poetry.

In today’s episode, Pete Rose will translate “A Poison Tree” by Romantic luminary William Blake from the original English into Pete Rose American.

Mr. Blake’s original:

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright ;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil’d the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

Mr. Rose’s translation:

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright ;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil’d the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

Hey, 7-11 clerk,
Let’s make this shit work.
My rebuilt Dodge in the handicap spot,
The .38 in my hand that I have not yet shot,

And an autographed, severed finger of mine
For 10 Powerball tickets (for which I typically stand in line),
And enough Schlitz my thirst to quench.
Anybody asks, my name’s Johnny Fucking Bench.

This has been “Poetry, Translation by Pete Rose.”