Bio Note: It's snowing here in NY as I write this, but February 17th is surely the first day of spring, the day pitchers and catchers report to Mets spring training camp. Then, in March, spring training games! I love baseball, though you might not think so from my poem "Teamwork." However, if there's need for an abbreviated baseball season again this year, here's also my poem "These Covid Days," which is a reminder to seize the day, regardless. (Also, the long-promised In the Muddle of the Night, by Betsy Mars and me is due out soon from Arroyo Seco Press. Another reason to be happy. )
Was a long day even for a day game at Brookville Park, where all the swamps of southeast Queens seemed finally to convene. It was 13 to 4 with two long innings left or, with luck, the big kids would take over the field even before our game reached its end. If I got to bat, it didn’t matter much to anyone-- I would strike out or walk, always attentive to the manager, Mr. Muzio’s counsel: Crouch down and don’t ever swing. This usually worked. I’d end up standing on first, or just as well in the dugout alone behind the half fence where the weeds grew high as my knees. Awkward for his age, the coach whispered to my pop, and, then, banished to deep right where the ball was seldom hit and I could daydream the rest of this torment away-- the batted ball rolling past me, my teammates—we were in this together— hollering top of their lungs: Walowitz, Dogface! Go fetch the ball. Run.
Wisdom alone--and our higher self--ought to say these days are handed to us, not quite for free, but almost gifts, and we ought to be, unto them, like worker-bees charged only with avoiding the mediocrity of sub-standard honey--under-pollinated and worse, too much delay in what ought to be its joyful making. What a waste, hours spent thinking: just another swamp in this, the daily grind, the sameness, the futility, the muck up to our knees. And isn’t it time for tea, or better yet, Happy Hour, so, we might get lost in the empty space of the dusk or whatever we name the darkness that seems, like the plague, bound to swallow us?
©2021 Alan Walowitz
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