Blondes, Box Scores, and Elizabeth Bishop
A-Rod, your body rocks
as does your bat
but not so much, perhaps,
your plucked eyebrows or TV teeth, and—
is your hair frosted?
It's OK because when you're at the plate,
you look like a Cavalier—maybe more a Fop,
a frivolously fastidious dandy.
Something very Jeremiah of you, too.
Your tendency to hit into double plays,
the frequent and overzealous strikeouts,
and your well-documented lack of clutch.
I like to win, but it gives me comfort, lying
on my velvet couch, to know that despite the stats
one can still suck. Nevertheless, you give black socks
a whole new meaning. On you, more like stirrups.
Not like stirrups at the OBGYN, (cold, insidious) but
like those that fall from a saddle. A relic
from your world. Your world the world of men—spitting,
then hitting into the sunset. Hopefully.
Elizabeth Bishop, I have a bone to pick with you.
Your Collected admonishes and the clock
ticks loudly in the kitchen. I need to read you
but A-Rod is up, the crowd is booing loudly
and he is about to mount the plate
on an imaginary horse. It stamps the dirt,
snorts, and A-Rod points his bat at the horizon.
Elizabeth, I implore you—discover baseball
wherever you are. The diamond is perfect geometry,
tracks of diagonals mowed like lattice the low
sun makes shine, then deepen. The crowd, white noise,
like the CD a friend uses to quiet her baby: children playing
in a pool, a hairdryer, running water. A full house tonight, Elizabeth,
a meditation, like Sudoku on a moving train or a jigsaw puzzle,
pieces scattered on the coffee table. Unlike your book,
consecrated by the required reading list. Poets love the mirror.
Perhaps as much as A-Rod, who searches for a fastball,
leaning back on his right leg swaying
back and forth. I've learned, Elizabeth, that they do this
to keep time. Something you know a lot about, I can tell
from your poem "Poem" (nice title), which I read
during the Jeter's Ford Challenge commercial. I had it on mute.
Here it comes—a curveball, off the plate.
At the plate, a hitter has only one thought: right now.
At the computer, I have only one thought: kill me.
And it could, Elizabeth, but not as much
as Yankee commentator Michael Kay,
who sputters, "the Melkman cometh" about
Melky Cabrera, a returning, demoted rookie who
has lost his swing (late nights, girls).
These things happen when you're 24.
These things happen when you're 34.
Elizabeth, why were you reading about Baroque prose
in college when you should have gone to keggers?
There is art and there is an art to life. Like A-Rod's uniform,
which reminds me of Marilyn Monroe's "Happy Birthday, Mr. President"
dress, so tight she had to be hoisted over the toilet to pee.
Blondes. Something A-Rod knows a thing or two about.
We can’t help whom we’re attracted to, Elizabeth.
If I had to love someone else's rack
as much as I love mine, we'd have a problem.
A-Rod whiffs. The crowd cheers. A cudgel stick of a season.
-- Allison Contey