Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Poem Safe at Home

Because I almost went to a poetry reading yesterday; and because it was a reading where you were supposed to bring a favorite funny poem to lighten the mood on what's officially Tax Day; and because I dug through my Bill Knott books looking for the poem with those great lines, "Ancestor-silencing is difficult when you you're the one/who forgot to patent the dodo," just in case I needed something to read; and found this poem instead, which is perfect for the season and so I will share with you....

Mitts and Gloves

for Tom Lux

The catcher holds a kangaroo fetus in his,
the firstbaseman's grips a portable hairblower,

but everyone else just stares into theirs
punching a fist into it, stumped

trying to come up with a proper occupant--
The pitcher for example thinks a good stout padlock would go

right in there, but the leftfielder,
perhaps influenced by his environment,

opts for a beercan. The shortstop
informative about the ratio of power to size,

says, "Transistor. You know, radio." The
secondbaseman however he just stands and

grins and flapjacks his from hand to hand and back again,
secondbase dopey as always. Alas

cries the thirdbaseman, this void
of vacancy, pure-space beyond our defiant emptiness,--

abyss, haunted by the kiss of balls
we have not missed! oh absence

delice...The rightfielder looks dis-
gusted at this, he just snorts, hawks, spits

into his and croaks Hey look: heck,
my chaw of tobac fits it perfeck.

The team goes mum, cowhided by
the rectitude of his position, the logic.

Only the centerfielder, who was going back
while this discussion was going on,

putting jets on his cleats to catch the proverbial
long one,

does he perhaps have a suggestion...?
As for the ball, off in midair it dreamily

scratches its stitches and wonders
what it will look like tomorrow when it wakes up

and the doctor removes its bandages--

Mitts are whitecollar; professionals;--
designed for firstbase, homeplate, unique, elite,--

and therefore moral. The glove on the
other hand is human and can be worn

interchangeably by
all player's, dirty, low-down, dumb. I'm

forced to admire the mitt but
free (in theory) to love gloves.

--Bill Knott, from Becos (Random House, 1983)


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