by Thomas Dyja
While the Chicago Cubs are enjoying a terrific year in 2008, for generations they have embodied dashed hopes and weary resignation. To honor those Cub fans of the last century who perished without seeing their team in the World Series, we present this elegy set in the 1980s from award-winning novelist Thomas Dyja.
II. A Game (More or Less)
The bench we sat on, like a worn out bar,
Peeled in the bleachers, where the scoreboard,
Held up by standards wrought of Gary steel, and
From which a pale scorekeeper peeped out
(Another hid his paunch behind the clock)
Posted the score of seven games—Candlestick
Reflecting the time upon the coast—as
The zeroes next to “Cubs” rose to meet defeat
From Cardinal runs poured in rich profusion.
…yet there Jack Brickhouse
Filled all the TV’s with inviolable voice
And still he cried, and still the outfielders pursued,
“Hey Hey” to dirty ears.
And other withered stumps of time
Were set in their green seats; staring forms
Leaned out, leaning, jeering the team below.
Footsteps shuffled on the basepaths.
Over DeJesus, far to his left, Mitterwald’s throws
Spread out in fiery points
Rolled into centerfield, then would be savagely booed.
“The Baron is bad today. Yes, bad. Stay with the pitch!
“Hit to left. Why can’t Murcer hit to left? Hit.
“What’s Wallis waiting for? Why’s he taking? Why?
“I’ll never know why they always take. Swing!
Joe thinks we need a late rally
But I just want to go home.
“What is the score?”
The Cubs are down by four.
“What is the score now? What is the wind doing?”
Nothing again nothing.
“They hit anything? Can’t they field anything? Do you remember
Cardenal’s eyelids stuck to his eyes.
“Can you play, or not? Is it something Lockman said?”
O O O O Clines overslid the bag—
Tried for too many
A win for Denny
“What shall we do now? What shall we do?”
“We shall go out for a beef, and have a beer
“With our heads down low. What shall we do to-morrow?
“What shall we ever do?”
The game starts at one-thirty.
And if it rains, a pass at the door.
And we shall see a game, more or less,
Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for the Cubs to maybe score.
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