Cool Papa Bell

by William Tecku

Major league-fastball-fast is fast.
Lose-a-gal-fast-before-you-
first-take-her-out is fast.
Folk-like-me-sold-on-the-steps-
of-the-St. Louis-Court House-fast
is fast but none of these fasts
is fast as darn fast.
Me finished before you start
that’s darn fast, that’s me.

Slow? Slow is how long it took me to tell Clara,
while we was out walkin’ after my game today,
how I got hit with my own hit ball
after I slid safe into second.
Darn slow? That was me with her tonight, guessin’
and guessin’ all the way back from hearin’ Henry Brown
at the Blue Flame until we stepped off the sidewalk,
outside the gas lights, and slipped under the shade trees
by her flat, before I could remember her favorite hymn
and she kissed me fast, in a slow way,
that made me feel like Lucky Lindy.

Like when I’m flyin’ around the bases
or runnin’ down flys or line drives
with eyes for the center field fence
and whole the ball park is movin’
slow as Missouri catfish in winter,
I didn’t feel nothin’ under my feet
all my way home where I
turned off the light and was in bed
before my room was dark.

 

William Tecku is a Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry grant recipient, a six-time Arizona English Teachers Association “Teachers As Writers” award winner, a Lake Superior Writers Series award winner, and twice received the Mesa Public Schools Staff Writing Award. It’s Only a Dry Heat is his most recent collection of poetry and fiction. For more of his writing, visit his webpage, Road Reflections.


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