Monday, April 4, 2011

Opening Day, Squared

I imagine that everyone has one good poem in them, kind of like everyone (maybe) has the ability to write one good novel.

In honor of the baseball season's Opening Day and the beginning of National Poetry Month, both of which occurred on April Fool's Day this year, here's mine. I wrote it for a Whitman class, in which we were charged to follow Whitman's lead and do something creative; when I read it aloud, it was very well received. Go figure.

BASEBALL

I saw you at the ballpark last Sunday, Walt Whitman.
I couldn't wave because I had a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other.
You wouldn't have noticed me anyway
because you were concentrating on the millionaires in tight pants playing a kid's game,
the sunburned necks of the boys on the bench,
the one kneeling in the on-deck circle,
the one crouched behind the plate,
the batter waiting for the ball to stay up a little in the strike zone
so he can send it high against the blue blue blue March sky
into deep right field for a hit or an E or an out and maybe a long singing throw into second.
The sound of the crowd is the voice of America.
I've heard you said you see great things in baseball, that it's America's game,
our game,
as important as the Constitution,
and I could have looked it up if I'd gone to the library on Sunday.
But I went to the ballgame instead.
I saw you there, Walt Whitman.
You were wearing a Dodgers cap.

3 comments:

  1. Excellent, not familiar with Walt Whitman at all but i loved the way you have put him in this poem and captured the essence of the game.
    thanks for sharing
    martine

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  2. I love this! Ginsberg's (right?) I saw Walt Whitman in the Grocery Store, or something. I haven't googled the title. Your take is so fun, a very good job. You were living the poem.

    Now I want a hot dog.

    Love baseball season! It brings back great memories with my dad, watching the Tigers on TV.

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  3. Martine, I think you would enjoy Whitman although he is wordy. Definitely requires you to go with the flow.

    Ruth, yes, I guess I was channelling Ginsberg and the all-night grocery, too (http://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/supermarket.html). It's a homage, not plagiarism. I hope.

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