Archive for Poem

Love Song for C. Andrew Sabo

Sabo Eyes

The tiger-striped glasses that didn’t
look quite like I expected,
as though the frame in the doctor’s office
was the toy on the cereal box —
never the same as the one inside; sometimes
painted differently, sometimes
plastic, not steel —

the tiger-striped glasses, heavy
on my nose and adding roundness and orangeness
to an already circular and freckled face
paid me in headaches lost
(no headaches from squinting
at the Mr. Lawton’s chalky notes
on elements and particles
from the back of the class),
but cost me in those fleeting moments
with brown-haired Alyssa,
who thought I was making fun
of how she ate the banana,
who never seemed so interested
in me as me in her.

Chris Sabo, let’s go, you and I,
and lie etherized on the optometrist’s table;
let’s stretch across expired TIME
and NatGeo magazines until we
get our vision and our heartbreak;
let’s wait together and say nothing
when the toy inside is not red,
       but blue.


The Long Narrow Road to Felix Pie’s Apartment

Pochangmacha-street-jongno

(Editor’s note: Felix Pie is a professional baseball player currently employed by the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization. He is walking home from the stadium after a game.)

 

The phantoms surge past and across and through the streets.
The moon hides in shame behind a lachrymose black veil
An oily candle, burnt too short, lapping cheap tallow.
Headlights roar and shudder, blood-drunk wet lions
Thrashing like dying fireflies in the puddles of soju underfoot.
The summer wind licks like a consumptive’s warm sigh.

This is a place where the flying birds do not reach.
Bamboo and grasses grew wild where they tread,
Long since crushed into gray powder lining the roads
Their colors boiled, wrought into neon, pumped into the signs
Calling the chirping moths, their only direction toward.
This world bears no names, offers no constellations.

Hidden in shadow, scattered along the littered sidewalks
The old men cry out hoarse laughter from the pojangmachas
Huddled motionless under tent flaps, gripping small green bottles,
Scraping their scarred beards with the backs of their hands
The crust of crimson sauce outlining lopsided grins.
When the hour comes they will sink into the asphalt.

The way is difficult to find, among all the dead ends.
Life pours into the drains in the abyssal alleyways behind every corner.
The serpents and the courtiers and the chrysanthemums have long since vanished.
There are no dew-teared blossoms to mourn the pilgrimage of the exile.
Felix Pie squints at the symbols, hunting for some willowisp
To illuminate the path and lure him home.


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.


My Daughter is Not Impressed by You, Jack Daugherty

jackdaugherty

My daughter is not impressed by you, Jack Daugherty.
She creases the cardboard in her clumsy hands
While you gaze upward at a future, long since past.
To her, we are all undrafted free agents.
She doesn’t understand how it feels to have a baseball card.
She doesn’t understand how it feels to be young.

A million photographs of you languish in plastic tubs,
In garages and attics, wedged between Weedles and basic lands
Protesting to an uncaring, amnesiac world
That you made it, when so many failed, when so many
Assumed you’d fail. You drew 10 walks in 1989.
You, a propaganda poster for the Protestant ethic, a piece of history.

But history is a tyranny of the old upon the young
Of implicit values, adages and limitations,
The insipid morality of sugarless breakfast cereals
Strained carrots, quiet lies, living for tomorrow.
There is no American Dream for the children
Who cry through their naptimes.

My daughter rejects your truths, Jack Daugherty.
She cannot read your name and would not care to.
The accomplishments summed on the back of the card
Are not even numbers, betray no intelligence
A feral, flimsy, and fleeting cuneiform
Good only for being eaten.

As my daughter gnaws apart your effigy,
Destroys one small fraction
Of your existence in this world
She coos to herself, softly.


Your Future Matt Wieters Injury News Here

5/6: Has MRI on elbow.
5/7: Scheduled to see Dr. Andrews.
5/8: Scheduled to see Julie Andrews.
5/9: Cast in upcoming Sound of Music Live 2: The All-Stars of Sport Climb Every Mountain
5/10: Rehearsals for Sound of Music Live 2 begin.
5/11: Wieters suffers slight case of laryngitis.
5/12: Wieters scheduled to see throat doctor. Doctor prescribes rest and hot liquids.
5/13: Wieters drinks tea, burns tongue. Sound of Music Live 2 places him on 3-day DL.
5/14: While recovering from tongue burn, Wieters reaches for television remote control, strains shoulder.
5/15: Strained shoulder is resolved.
5/16: Tongue burn is resolved.
5/17: Laryngitis is resolved.
5/18: Wieters resumes rehearsals for Sound of Music Live 2.
5/19: Wieters stumbles over new words to My Favorite Things, reprinted here:

Manny Machado and Nicky Markakis
Signing Ubaldo looks like a mistake. Is
Jonathan Schoop better than he appears
Nelson Cruz trying to earn the fans’ cheers

Zach Britton’s finding a home in the bullpen
With O’Day and Hunter it’s kind of a full pen
Jones, Hardy, Davis have all started slow
Off to see Andrews, Matt Wieters did go

5/20: Wieters trips over a girl who is sixteen, going on seventeen. Hurts his elbow.
5/21: Sent for MRI.
5/22: Repeat visit to Dr. Andrews, who reminds him he never followed up after the first visit.
5/23: Wieters has Tommy John Surgery.
Next April: Wieters rejoins cast of Sound of Music Live 2.


For Cubs Fans: Charles Baudelaire’s “Always Be Drunk”

sad-cubs-fan-heartbreak
The Cubs fan in his natural setting.

Since the establishment of this weblog by Kool Keith and Oscar Wilde at a Golden Corral in 1971, it is has been the editorial objective — above all others — to provide such work as to assist the reader along his horrible, forlorn journey from day to night.

In the tradition of that singular effort, the author presents the following translation — largely for the benefit of Chicago Cubs fans, who continue to finds themselves on intimate terms with misery — of very dead French poet Charles Baudelaire’s Envirez-Vous, or Be Drunk.

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Omar Vizquel and His Magic Car — A Poem

omar

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)


In the Middle of Czech Republic a New Baseball Field Was Built

Czech Ballfield

There either is or isn’t an actual Czech folk song regarding the successful construction of a new baseball field. What follows either is or isn’t a translation of that same folk song’s lyrics into English by the author.

In the Middle of Czech Republic a New Baseball Field Was Built

In the middle of Czech Republic, a new baseball field was built!
Syn, slaughter the fatted calf.
Dcera, prepare a stew from harvested vegetables.
In the middle of Czech Republic, a new baseball field was built!
Tonight, we abandon reason for pleasure.

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Poem with Lines Exclusively by Ken Rosenthal

Rosenthal
Ken Rosenthal has something to say.

Like most men who wear bow-style ties without irony, very spry baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal is not immune to the charms of the beaux arts. As the following poem suggests — composed entirely of lines from his recent dispatch from the front lines of the baseball news cycle — Rosenthal is capable of writing poignant lyrics on the nature of hope even when he appears to be writing just about a hypothetical Cardinals trade for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

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Poem: To a Photograph of Dave Parker

Boppin

To a Photograph of Dave Parker

1.

In love poems we talk about eye color.
Your eyes are the color of the virginity that Brooke Shields just lost
And the luxury Oldsmobile she’ll give birth to nine months hence.

In benedictions we ask the firmament for mercy and riches.
You are large and bearded like the godhead in sanctuary etchings.
Through oral tradition, you taught us how to anger presidents with a lean.

Yours is the Sunday hat of fat-armed Baptist aunts.
But on you its wide brim and flop languish for disapproval.
Its tincture, cocaine in a sunbeam.

The words on your shirt are not explanation. They are augury.
Noise is going to happen because this more-than-man is mining for runs.
Prick up your ears only if you want to be deafened.

2.

In sea chanteys we sing to forget what our roasted muscles know by rote.
But do take heart and know that the shore hovers ahead.
Or perhaps that is a discotheque. Or the nearest precinct.
This is why you hum chamber music at the plate.

Gotthold Lessing wrote that wine and love are the only two things
That keep a man from being a stone. In you, though, there is
An artery that has grown through your finger and into your cigarette,
Which it now garrisons with plush blood.
That is the elusive third thing
That keeps you from being just a man.

3.

Your tongue prowls out of what we thought was your mouth
But turned out to be the stoop of a brownstone in Red Hook —
Back when it was dangerous, obviously.

4.

In elegies we lament.
So I lament that the buildings of the boulevards
That housed the best nights ever had or never had
Are long shuttered,
Like coins over the eyes of a dead Roman.