A Poem: Why Old Men Must Watch Baseball | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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A Poem: Why Old Men Must Watch Baseball



It’s not entertainment we’re after.
This isn’t football after all,
there’ll be no violence
and most likely no reason to stand up or even raise one’s voice.
We are going quietly
and baseball is the only thing as long as life itself.

Night after night, in and out of consciousness
it’s hard to tell
each game being so similar to a hundred others
that you might think you accidentally wandered into a Phillip Glass organ solo
or perhaps a particularly meandering episode of “Doctor Who”
that no one bothered to script a resolution for.

The shortcomings of this year’s particular allotment of talent is paraded about over and over
countless reminders of how we fall short—
the only surprising thing being our complete lack of anger.
We are leaving soon but this watching will go on
like some Copernican clock winding down into infinity
without an observer.

There is little argument in baseball, little strategy
one accepts the fatality of the task at hand.
It is tiring for us all. It wasn’t nearly as fun as we thought it’d be.
Baseball doesn’t promise fun.
It promises only persistence.

The luckiest of us might be watching
during the auspicious and rare “perfect game.”
It will be perfect only if,
like some yogi’s instructions somewhere,
no action is performed,
no offense achieved with its inevitable karmic backlash
a sterile whole, like when God and the universe were the same.

The tall man on the mound
near the precipice of this glory
makes a cranky face beneath his sweating bangs
as if his lawnmower just stalled
as if the heat, not greatness is what’s imposing upon him here.

Perhaps he’s not sure
whether it’s death or eternity
all these men are standing around waiting for
with the sun in their eyes
their crotches itchy in their pants
begging history to call in to them from the kitchen
to bring them a glass of water
to remind them that someone knows that they’re alive

only a little word
perhaps a woman
something to mark the passage of time
to dull the ache of this silence
pounding in their ears.

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