Browse all poems and songs in the 'Free Verse' Category


Happy 100, From a New Yorker

by Stephen Jones

Today is Wrigley Field’s anniversary.
One hundred years of longevity.

In New York, where short-term memory
Is “What have you done for me lately,”
It often means tearing down history
For the sake of the quick monetary.

As someone prescient once said
When the wrecking ball was poised
To bring down Ebbets Field stature,
“When it’s gone, it’s gone forever.”

All this reflection just to say:
To Wrigley Field . . . Happy Birthday.

 



Ball Park 65

by Marc Smith (aka Slampapi)

In honor of Wrigley Field’s 100th anniversary today, we reprint a poem from the founder of the Poetry Slam, possibly the most accurate description of what it’s like at the corner of Clark and Addison on game day.

I’m sitting on a fire hydrant half way between my forty-fifth and forty-sixth season
enhancing my tan while I wait for my pals to arrive with the tickets.

Peanuts!

And a street vendor, leaning against a blond brick wall fifty feet beyond the centerfield
fence, cries

Peanuts!

Sounding somewhat like a cricket because the squall he makes is louder than his body
should allow.

Peanuts!

Three cops sitting sidesaddle on a blue horse, side arms bulging out conspicuously,
adjust their doughnut bellies as they chit chat takin’ it easy on their fair weather
patrol.

Peanuts!

Ten Wichita Kansas corn fed bullheads plug up the intersection hunting for Gate F.
The cop nearest the traffic jam reluctantly does his duty with a groaning eyeball
roll.

“Down there, sir. Gate F is down there
Where the big F is.”

Peanuts!

People plash by in streams of placid pastels. Pops and his buzz head kids.
Wendy and hers. Bertha and what could be children, but what may be baby
hippopotami tuggin’ at their mama as they lumber across the street
linked together hand to hand — the last one dragging an antique catcher’s mitt.

Peanuts!

From the top of the plug I shoot my scanner out into the loveliness of lots and lots of ladies, dolls, dames. Over forty me can’t help being a pig sometimes, especially at the ballpark. Hell, when I’m out here I’m like a WGN cameramen zoomin’ in on

Peanuts!

Some bad habits are hard to kick.

Anyway, I spot peroxide blond wearing a pink halter-top, eating a Polish sausage at the beer stand across the street, making lipstick autographs on the bun. Peanuts! I fantasize that she’s signing it for me.

Peanuts!
“Got tickets?”
Something tries to invade my daydream.

Peanuts!
“Got tickets?”
It starts to dissolve.

Peanuts!
“I said, d’ya got tickets?”
Is this my friend?

Peanuts!
“Hey! I’m talkin’ to you!”
Not my friend.

“All you got to say is yes or no.
You people.
You people and your looks.”

It’s a hawk, a hustler, a young man scalping a fist of fake tickets. He’s tough, muscular, feral.
Red Dog dago-tee. His eyes peg me reactively. I feel my own opaque glare matching up to his. For a second we stare coldly into each other’s eyes.

“All I asked you was if you had tickets.
And if you do, just say no thank you.
Save me the hard guy look.”

Peanuts!

“You people.
When are you people
Ever gonna stop
Lookin’ down at us?”

Peanuts!

“You don’t own this street.”

Peanuts!

“And you don’t own me.”

Peanuts!

“And if you don’t have the guts
To say what you’re thinkin’,
Then don’t parade around
As if you got the guts to do anything else.”

Peanuts!

“You people.”

Down the block and across the street Big Mama leans over the porch rail and hollers “Ramon!” “Ramon!” who runs up to the cricket on the corner holdin’ out a handful of money cryin’:

“Peanuts! Peanuts!
I want some peanuts!”

You got ‘em little buddy. They’re all yours. Take ‘em home.
Take ‘em home and enjoy yourself. Enjoy eating your

PEANUTS!



Numbers Game: If 9 Were 7

by Stephen Jones

Alexander Joy Cartwright, club member
Of the old New York Knickerbocker,
Declared 9 innings in 1845 –
Something we still keep alive.

Modern baseball’s inventor –
Tired of game disorder –
Called a dream field to order
When he gaveled “9” the number.

Now stirs a business suggestion:
Make baseball’s 9 a 7.
Why?  Because the game’s too slow,
Because younger fans are “no-show.”

Mr. Cartwright worked with geometry,
Not with something fiduciary.
Since when, he might opine,
Is baseball governed by bottom line?

 



Jackie

by Anonymous

He waited
In the whiteness of the afternoon sun;
Black man on green ground.
He waited
In the silence of the tongue
Black man on green ground.
He waited
In the path of his words
White broke his bones;
Black man on green ground.
He waited
As few men have ever
waited
And endured
Before a multitude
as no man before,

O,
To have conquered the white sun,
blinding
To have sailed the sun and ridden
its joy
in tears
And
in laughter.

To have ridden the white sun,
blinding
And to be
struck
struck
struck
by the rising
Of
Your
Own
Black
Sun.

Your crown was white;
…and waited.

.
Found on the Baseball Almanac site.



The Game Without A Clock

by Stephen Jones

Critics of baseball always complain:
“Speed it up.  The game’s too slow. ”
Look elsewhere, they often chime,
For proof.  But to a clock-driven show?

Baseball is not the NFL,
Where starts and stops rush pellmell.

Baseball is not the NHL,
Where fights and goals are the sell.

Baseball is not the NBA,
Where endless timeouts hold the day.

Maybe more common sense could be used,
Maybe more strikes should be called . . .
These are arguments on which fans linger
Long after the day’s game is over.

Baseball, a game of numbers, is in play
In a stadium beyond time’s sway.

 

AL East

NL East

Extra Innings

AL Central

NL Central

Poems by Type

AL West

NL West

Heavy Hitters

Copyright 2007 Bardball.