jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Baseball”

On the home team’s starting pitcher


“You’ve got to have an attitude if you’re going to go far in this game.”
                                                                                         Bob Gibson

He’s gotta keep ‘em off balance
using his head as well as his arm
mixing it up north & east
and west & south
consistently changing speeds
—letting the ball fly from various
release points
and mostly importantly
never showing them
the whites of his eyes





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the comeback


it’s the bottom of the eighth
and the home team
is down by one
the partial crowd
infused by fake news & alcohol
refuses to deny
that back-to-back homers
will send them into delirium





may two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a saturday morning in late september


It was just the two of us
and a field of overgrown weeds
an hour after sunup

in the garage
his father had two kinds of sickles
probably handed down
from previous generations
wooden handles restained (how many
times over the years)
sharp as a tack & anxious
to get back to work

and so back to work we went
turning the big field of weeds
into a ball diamond
sickle carving out the dimensions
dual lawn mowers
working out the finer details
measuring ninety feet between the bags
sixty feet from pitching rubber
to home plate

by noon the grapevine
had attracted the best players
from within a ten mile radius
one by one & two by two
(or some other kind of combination)
they arrived by foot or bike
or special envoy
by the time one twenty rolled around
the first pitch was thrown





august two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

in the front row behind home plate


she’s not watching the game
cold beer in her glove hand
new beau on her left
small device streaming
atop crossed knee


he’s keeping score in his head
far behind on the conversation
hesitating how to record
a balk or the stealing of first base

there is mass exhilaration
when the whole place erupts
by way of a grand salami
suddenly they find themselves
deep in the crosshairs





august two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

effectively wild


I’m not interested
in your conspiracy theories
I’m mainly focused
on craft beer & baseball

although your fantasies
are intriguing
I’m spending the bulk
of my time
stealing signs &
putting runners in motion

although I admit your
methods are effectively wild
my free time is spent
at the nearest taproom
watching the board
& seriously considering
trading on paper





july two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the last of the subway series


going into the eighth
anything could happen
for you see
the fat lady has yet to sing

yogi nods to casey
who pulls the starter
& that’s when it all starts
to unravel
the say-hey kid
dancing around second

in the right field bleachers
all the fans boisterously sing
ninety-nine bottles
of beer on the wall

of course it all comes
crashing down
when mister coffee bounces
into a double entendre
thereby passing the torch
onto number seven himself




june two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

dead to right


all I wanted to do was play baseball
but world wars got in the way

throwing fastballs & sliders
big fat curveballs exploding in the sky

the airwaves were full of danger
yankees overtaking bases

bearded men in kneehigh red socks
slaughtering the entire field

of course it’s justified by orthodoxy
IEDs & suicide squeezes

inside foxholes older men in uniforms
chew tobacco & flash signs

though they’re waving me in
instincts tell me I must be dead to right




may two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

stuck in the middle


jimmy dugan said it best
about not crying
during a specific activity

I could have used that advice
back when I was a little leaguer
back when real life was
easily distinguishable
from this present day reality




november two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

when straying from the science


when running your hardest to first base
you should not go air-bound on that final step
stretching & suspended will only slow you down

that is the simple science of it
yet so few runners actually put it into practice
turning a possible single into an eyelash out
mainly due to a lack of faith




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Losing a whole year


I’ve seen this before
it’s what some call a repeat
déjà vu if you will
like a herd of elephants
lumbering across the sky

I’ve seen this before
magically recasted to the TV
runners on second & third
the next three batters
striking out looking

I’ve seen this before
rain falling like stars
washing out the elephants
and delaying the game
probably until next year




august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

with runners in scoring position


all the seats are empty
but that’s not stopping the runners
on first
& second
from stretching their lead

the pitcher steps off the rubber
and everyone
relaxes

somebody’s yelling ‘cold beer here’
but more than likely
it’s just piped-in recording
from last september

everyone seems to be more focused
than usual
as if some sort of fever has taken
its toll over the game
and each & every at bat
has more meaning
than any year in recent memory




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

runner in scoring position


it’s midsummer on a saturday night
the stadium lights attracting every flying
insect within 500 nanometers
first batter already on first base
thanks to beckert’s fielding error

brock’s not getting much of a lead
but everyone’s expecting him to take off
on the first or second or third pitch

the night’s young & the city’s abuzz
the runner back in motion
light years ahead of jenkin’s delivery
taking with him every intention
of never stepping down from the game




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

first bounce or fly


the light continues to reflect off anything
in its path and I’m here to soak it all in



nothing seems to be working
the clocks are stuck again
all within plus or minus fifty years

meanwhile I sit just past third base
drinking old style and keeping score
childhood glove on lap
fly balls nowhere in sight

I’m in the hole
down on one knee
wondering where all the beautiful people go
once the game is over

since there’s nothing left to do
I’m thinking I should go to the beach
maybe put myself under the virtual spotlight
and find out a little more about myself




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

October Rising


Bring on the tenth month I say
images of monarch
and ruby-throated migrations
flashing before my eyes
nighttime baseball games
a staple in my foreseeable future
culminating with an enormous
harvest moon slowly rising

It’s the last hurrah you say
sitting cozily by the artificial fire
sipping hot tea from a tumbler
pointing at the Samsung
and dialing up a movie

I nod unconvincingly
retiring to the sunroom
pouring myself a pint of Guinness
reassured knowing
October is just the beginning




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

national anthem


baseball game streaming
live on a.m. radio
I’m in my bedroom
in full uniform
practicing my grip
on brand new ash bat

not too tight but not too light
coach would tell me
you should see how robinson
and aaron and banks get it done

this is all before cable television
and all I got to go by
is how the announcer on the
radio calls it
unwittingly explaining to boys
how men of color
are quietly changing society
one integrated game at a time




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

vacationing in Colorado


I’m not going there
she said
can you please change the channel
there must be more to life
than current events
sapping all your energy

we had just sat down
at a local dispensary
having ordered two craft beers
and a bowl of purple sensimilla
the remote control to the TV
directly overhead
within arms reach

what about the Rockies game
I suggested
do you consider pro baseball
current events

that all depends upon who
they’re playing
she answered
not to mention how quickly this weed
will make me not care about anything





april two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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