Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Requiem for a Pitcher

--He wasn’t scared of nothin’, Boys
He was pretty sure he could fly

         --Guy and Susanna Clark, lines from “The Cape”

And it is a leap of faith
to pitch for George Shipbuilder.

George to St. Joseph 

“I expect a great deal from you . . .
Yes I am deeply disappointed . . .
We have to do better . . .
I deeply want a championship . . .

I have high expectations . . .
I want to see enthusiasm . . .
Responsibility is yours, Joe . . .”

Instruction like that from the top
doesn’t necessarily cause
airplanes to fly into buildings
in the borough of Manhattan

but doesn’t there seem to be a
certain structural similarity to
all suicide missions?

RIP Cory. And your flight instuctor.
And the horse he rode in on.
Jealousy and stupidity
Don't equal harmony

as John Prine once said.
In the next world you are
on your own, although there will
probably be shipbuilders there, too.


The Wildebeeste at Little Pine Island Lake

I don’t like cats,
they play with their food
said I as I filleted

the bluegills we had
harvested. Hah! replied
my newly acquired

sister-in-law, and what
do you think
you are doing?

Such lovely ingratitude!
I had to remind
myself that her cat

was dying, and had
the grace not to point out
that it was I

who had given her
and her mate my brother,
pilgrim though he may be,

the poles they caught
those bluegills with
as a wedding present and was

preparing them sumptious repast
including the hippy’s corn roasting
in husk over coals

from birch and pine harvested
on my own land.
I loved her and forgot

all my resentments against
him and embraced
both her and a preternatural

sense of our destinies, and
bowed gratefully as
his new sister-in-law

pronounced a heartfelt blessing
on our repast and I hoped that we all
might live forever.

(San Francisco, 9/19/06)

The Wildebeeste on the Thornapple II

Had I known what pain
it would cause my family
I never would have rolled

my great body
in that great patch
of poison ivy

on that island, in that river.
Guilt, though, I do understand
fully, to be an illusion.

That said, I resist
the teachings of the Buddha. Life
is anything but illusion.

I spit on and snort at
all who suggest otherwise.
Great pain

is no illusion, it adheres to
and in the bones. I
would not cause it

to any living creature
unless I intended
to eat it.

(San Francisco, 9/19/06)

Last Softball Game in A2
for Van Hull, B

This old guy was on the mound.
I was playing center field, I
remember this.

In left was a tall
redhaired dude whose name
I do not remember.

It was also my first
softball game in Ann Arbor.
They never asked me to be

on the team, and I never asked
them either. I don’t remember
any of the rest of this,

it was all
told to me.
I had a wife.

I had a fellowship to a great
university in Amsterdam, a place
of which I still haven’t heard

except in their stories.
And that there are canals there.
The pitcher, what was his name

again, they tell me he used
to be a catcher? He was
wearing the most gawdawful plaid

bermuda shorts.
I went after that softball
because it started from him.

They tell me he recommended
me for that fellowship. I
have no doubt that that is

true. I just can’t remember
his name. The other guy,
the left fielder with the red hair

I don’t remember him either although
they tell me he had something
to do with a fellowship I got later
in Houston. I hear

he is chair of a department
somewhere on the Red River
in the heart of middle Amerika.

(San Francisco, 9/22/06)


The Wildebeeste on the Thornapple

The Thornapple flows through Alaska,
Michigan. There are rapids in the park

off 68th St. On Sundays the heathen
(of which I am content to be one)

ride innertubes to the dam
under the bridge

there in the southeast corner
of County Kent.

My brothers cross it betimes
on their way to Saskatoon to play golf.

Golf is not the game for me,
one who seeks

more elemental play.
Smallmouth bass lurk beneath that bridge.

And I will have one, maybe two
on a fine Michigan autumn afternoon.

And I will be master, of not only the fishes
but of all I see and feel.

No comments:

Post a Comment