Is baseball the most poetic sport? Ron Silliman, for one, thinks so!
I like putting free poetry in unlikely places; I feel that, challenging as writing free poems is, doing it for a literary crowd is soft ball. Writing poems for 45,000 baseball fans… now that’s hard ball!
Jimmy, Emily, Heather, and I set up our shingle at Turner Field in the Fan Plaza for a day game between the Braves and the Mets. As the crowds streamed in we shouted “GET YER FREE POEMS! !” as if hawking peanuts and beer.
There was a large group of Lutherans at the game that day, and many of our early efforts were for them:
superheros are for real, by Jimmy L.
Although the nights deliver its crimes
in twos and backalleys where grandmas
are mugged, there in the muck swirls
also the mitochondrial dna of radio-
active wastes that are so crucial
to big business and origin stories
of many a superhero’s super skilzzz!
Thus the problem becomes its own
solution, donning capes and perhaps
sporting silly tights, silly names &
_____ intern to be the sidekick to
_____ sideburns — yes anyone can be
_____ us, a super hero!
(some lines obscured in the photo, hence the blanks — fill them in and win prizes !)
Jobs (for Leon), by Jon C.
Hard to believe everyone
wants to have a job, since like
the God-tested suffering,
same-named, they are mostly
torment when pay is the goal.
Fire, punch the clock, the daily
grind — the words themselves sound
like a series of plagues, yet
the jobless rates’ rise causes
more worry. And how hard cap-
italism worked to kill a theory
of being which placed work first
(and won), meanwhile this over-
inflation of profit left us bank-
rupt, doing anything for a dime,
slaving over a hot spreadsheet.
first grade, by Heather B.
‘hello how are you?’ is for moms
we say, ‘would you like to share my organic rice
krispy treat? it’s been on the floor for less than
let’s start a club and call it the morning and the
our names look the same because our letters are
a bit wonky-doo baby giraffes with long
cocooning neck scarves and no sore throats
let’s be free-range eggs before we’re spotted
we haven’t lost any of our friends to the sandbox
grade A balloons pricked with recycled hedgehog
quills, harshing my mellow via easybake
shake legos down to the bottom of the box
no red ink by the end of the year.
Later, a security guard working the area came up. We were sure we were going to get busted for writing free poems without a permit… but actually, he wanted one for himself:
Gary’s Increase (for Gary), by Jimmy L.
Follow this line that ends in an arrow
upwards as a function of time. You
know this, I know this, Gary knows
this too, as he patrols the ballpark
with the confidence of each stride
as his shadow lengthens with the mid-day
rotation of the earth, the increase of
leaves in the fall, the shackles of a job
discerned out of one wise eye’s worth,
brushed off with skill, as an authority
with clean shoulders, a voice of reason
& relations of the public sort sorting out
the inner & outer selves in directions
surehandedly gripping the hours’ decrease.
We had some fun requests from kids:
headless monkeys (for Jacob), by Heather B.
oh how funny could it be
if every monkey you could see
was headless as a turtle who
was shy as could be?
pretzeled arms and legs and hairs
but headless monkeys have no cares
their brains turned off unawares
give not a hoot for zoo affairs.
now here’s a thing about apes decapitated
they’re so very rarely appreciated
fromore to the next they look the same
but here’s the fun + funny game
to tell the headless monkeys apart
check out their various forms of
Also some from adults:
L.A. (for Jenny), by Jon C.
Noir crime, dark romance, palm trees
line soul’s entertainment. The show
must go on, and every waitress sees
stars in her future, dreams grow
when in walks De Niro, or seems.
Illusions an ocean lapping flat
shores are only so many scenes
on the floor. Whenever that
curtain falls, gangs step in, news
trucks circle. Lala a play
of desire and dream that proves
the false is the real in L.A.
Lou Reed, by Jimmy L.
Lou Reed shared a cigar with me
once during the full moon waxing
poetic about heroin, and the sweet
voiced voicings of that mystic
in dark clubs, where John Cale
was serving Old Fashioneds
from the back of his pick-up
where a parcel had just been
delivered, a wooden crate
to be handled with care,
with respect and a chain saw.
Right at the end, after we got a request for a poem on ‘single ladies (a church group meeting)’. Emily wrote one:
single ladies, by Emily B.
Feminine mystique elusive
knowing one’s own self
touching submerged amid
surroundings of green, blue
petals, blossoming. A woman
always chooses her identity
yet makes the rain fall
gentle fierce lotus rising
from cracks in the pavement.
and I wrote one:
single ladies, by Jon C.
Singles like cheese slices wrapped
in plastic, stacked and looking
for a bread slice. Church base-
ments occasion not hooking
up but more, if not rapt-
ure at least a foot race
not run, rather walked and rose-
smelled. Long tables for small groups
with cupcakes, fruit juice, crackers,
gather a couple and future gropes
for twoness. Alone is prose,
plus one is a poem for lip smackers.
Here are the images (click for larger):