Monday, April 26, 2010

It’s easy to write about baseball

It’s easy to write about baseball
It’s not like football, four boundary lines
Ninety degree angles of absolute control
Gladiators fighting over an odd shaped ball
Or basketball, soccer or hockey
Again, all are confined to a rectangle
Chasing an object back and forth

Baseball is unique, it stands alone
Not confined to a box, there are the lines of
First and third which give definition
But are not the last word

It’s the outfield, with a different shape
And measure in each park, it’s not the end
You can leap and stretch over the wall
And steal a home run, or the ball can
Continue flight over the fence
And if it is lucky, out of sight lost in infinity
Maybe still traveling
Theoretically still in play

The rhythm, the space and pace
The absence of time
The whisper of eternity

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I still hate it

After years of alcohol and absence, Dad tried making amends by turning us into fishermen.

He’d wake us early on Saturday. The stream was an hour of erratic mountain road away, guaranteed to make me car sick. We’d park before first light, unload the gear, and hike to “our spot.” If we were lucky, we only had to suffer a chilly drizzle instead of the usual downpour. Dad was quickly lost in the zone. We’d run and laugh, throwing rocks into the silent, inviting creek.

“Knock it off! This is serious business. Shut up, stay put, fish.”

I still hate fishing.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The long walk

Picking strawberries, that’s what you did in the summer at thirteen. Up early to meet the bus, one the schools no longer wanted, with a cranky driver who doubled as field boss.

Spend the day bent over the rows. The weather jumped between blazing sun or pouring rain.

This day the rain came in buckets.

“Can we go home? Please? This is crazy.”

“Keep working.”

We’d show him who’s in charge. “We quit!”

“Okay, start walking.”

Five hours later, we’d covered an unknown distance, drenched and exhausted, only a mile from home the bus passed us. The driver laughed, waved, honked.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I looked like her

They said I looked like Grandma, red hair and all. Named me after her, Sarah Joy. I don’t remember her. There’s a baby picture of me on her lap. She died of cancer later that year. Stories made her out to be perfect.

I rushed home after school and straight to my room. Dropped on my bed as tears overwhelmed me. Momma knocked and opened the door.

“What’s the matter, honey?”

Words gurgled through my crying, “Oh, Momma, I’m pregnant.”

“Don’t worry about that, dear. How do you think I got here?”
Sixteen and pregnant. Turns out it’s a family tradition.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Guess we’ll find out

At twelve I was smoking. Same age my dad said he started. By thirteen I was drinking. Just like Mom. At fourteen, I’d shifted from petty shoplifting to jacking a car. Had my fifteenth birthday while working at the state farm for boys. Sixteenth too. Back home when I turned seventeen. Mom would look at me and cry. Dad yelled about anything. School was a waste of time. Friends shifted. Can’t say why. Turned eighteen, dropped out, left home, stayed with friends. Did some stuff. The judge says I’m an adult now, I’m old enough for prison. Guess we’ll find out.