by Dave Landsberger
Much like most of life, to be enjoyed it must be muted.
Best to enjoy the thronging, the boozing, the outmuscling
and tearing at t-shirts with cuticles
for the simplest of circles—silently.
Like cousins’ command chain while lost in a mystical and kid-appropriate forest
the rules of the bleachers are a cartoon-island democracy,
constituted with the concerns of treehouse parliaments:
escape routes, beach balls, dibs.
Lest not be forgotten those valiantly volunteering for target practice!
Birthday donkeys in the bleachers,
tails and nails clusterbombing down—
is it fireworks? Or is it cowhide? American meteorites?
Cheering harmonizing with ooing and ahhing.
From mitt, to hand, to bat, to sky, to television,
the home run lodges itself in the muted “O” of the play-by-playman’s mouth,
domesticated for a brief lease,
socializing its achievement in banister-blazing bars named for grandmothers.
If Mussolini had come to America,
if he tossed free shoes from his trucks down these neon American vistas,
it would be something like this,
something like the joyous handout that is the Home Run Derby—
the concoction of the convenience store parking lot cabinet, the basement brain trust,
the patriotic powwow and its unfurling of its flag/tarp
as the switchboard hand hinges down the cover to the missile defense system.
Today, in the beefy cheesy burrito commercial
I learned that catching home runs is honorable.
It suggested the experience was singular,
but without audio the burrito steamed triumphant
and now I sit shellacked, hungry, and deafened,
staring through the TV savagely as my attention turns its gajillionth channel.
Dave Landsberger’s first chapbook, “Whoa, Yeah, Baby,” can be read at floatingwolfquarterly.com. This poem first appeared on the Windy City sports website, ChicagoSide, where Dave is the poet-in-residence.
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