poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “baseball”

no time for baseball

it’s the bottom of the ninth
and nobody’s keeping score
and though the lights are on
the stadium is nearly empty

in the comfort of my own home
I can’t reach the game on am radio
instead switch to fm and listen to
jimi hendrix covering bob dylan

early morning news feed arrives
bold headlines scream no-hitter
followed by abbreviated stories
regurgitating tales of mass destruction

weatherman breaks in unannounced
low lying fog chemically unbalanced
possibly canceling the school day
if not the entire baseball season

april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

crickets singing in the basement

playoff game streaming inside
television set connected to the internet
sound muted in favor of tom petty’s
sirius xm radio channel 31

crickets in the basement seem to be
keeping time with each selection
undoubtedly unaware of the
natural order of things

how they made their way into the house
I have a pretty good idea
and as the game moves into later innings
I begin to wonder how they’ll
ever find their way back home

october two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

trying to be less informed

everybody’s keeping score
whether it be with chips or dowels
bowling pins or price of gasoline
pegged to some financial instrument

man made natural disasters
don’t go down by happenstance
official recordkeeper bullied & bloodied
quarantined for centuries
rats and cockroaches running amok
inside and out and multiplying

everyone knows how it all ends
so what’s the point in keeping score
especially when there’s a perfectly good
baseball game streaming live
just about anywhere you can order a beer

september two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

working through the off-season

she stitched and sewed all winter long
almost feverishly
covering cork and rubber and yarn with
whatever kind of hide she could find
having promised her boys of summer
the only way they would not play ball
would be due to the most severe
inclement weather

april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Revolutionary béisbol

They put Castro on waivers and
brought up his little nephew
to replace him
but only trouble is
neither could manage
to hit their weight

Last time the southsiders came
to town they filled the seats
and then some
even the Hilton across the street
was brimming with Americans in
balconies drinking Bucaneros
and smoking Cubans

But back home things were different
for this makeshift
patched together band of brothers
and if they have visions
of putting together a postseason run
it’ll never happen without
reigniting their fan base
desperate for a full-blown
revolutionary assault
including nickel hot dogs
and peso beer nights

august two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

it rarely rains at the coliseum

it was getaway day at the coliseum
and dogs and soda and suds were
all half-price

there were lots of suits commingled
among many of the more casually enthusiastic fans
and even the public address announcer wondered
if any of the banks were open for business

some early inning runs quickly increased
concession sales

late comers rushed to the beer tent
before finding their seats

the rookie southpaw had a no-hitter
going into the fifth
and the place was all abuzz
like it hadn’t been in years

the afternoon matinée couldn’t have been
more perfect
until the roar of the crowd
called forth the god of rain delays
who just wouldn’t go away

and gradually (but with a fight)
the stadium lost all its life
as if nothing had ever happened

may two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

good riddance to october rain

I don’t remember autumn being this wet
she said

I blinked my eyes and looked outside
thinking to myself what an
absurd thing to say

it’s not that wet I said it’s just an illusion

it’s wet enough they canceled tonight’s
baseball game she said

real men play in the rain I said

you’re an idiot she said and walked away

I raised my glass and made a silent toast
to rid the world of absurdity
and rainy october nights

october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

waiting on deck

september’s death
rests inside a fielder’s glove
her final breaths elongated
lilting and fading
elegantly purposeful

she would not be happy
knowing what follows next
her boys of summer in full costume
exhaling the uncertain air and
parading out past twilight
clumsily swatting bats

september two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved


out in the field we wielded sickles
carving weeds into baselines
and summer into baseball

when word got out about the
neighborhood transformation
prospects from near and far arrived by
foot and on bike with gloves and caps
and bubble gum and bats

curious seekers trickled in
spectating the self-governed exhibitions
sitting on lawn chairs and blankets
munching popcorn and cracker jack
and sipping five cent lemonade

as the winning run crossed the plate
dinner bells could be heard
echoing through the streets
a signal of sorts to choose two new teams
followed by the first pitch to the third
and final game

june two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

summer wasn’t summer without baseball

out of the fields and onto my bike
glove and spikes
strapped on the rack
I race through the cemetery shortcut
straight to the diamond

to get away was to get away
from the house of rules
where the master
made sure it was okay to disappear
as long as the work was done

transformed into a collective whole
I become one of many parts
dreaming to be the hero
while trying not to make an error
examining the stitches
hand-sewn on my pants
as well as the fastball
playing music beneath my chin

april two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on getting to first base

she caught me smiling
and pretended she really
never glanced my way

in a bout of bravery I decided
to get up from the patio table
and walked over to hers
and asked her softly
why she had looked my way

oh you reminded me of someone
she began
someone I once met in cincinnati

have you ever been to cincinnati
she asked me
batting her eyes and using her slender
index finger to flick off the long ash
from her virginia slim

no I said
I never have but I once promised myself
I’d like to become a speck in a sea of red
at the stadium there on the ohio river
and catch a foul ball with my bare hands

that sounds like fun she said
why don’t you sit down and share with me
more of your baseball fantasies

january two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

unlucky in love

he sits in his lazy boy chair
and yells at the umpire on TV who
keeps getting all the calls wrong
exhaling cheap cigar smoke
while putting down old style beer
in 12 ounce gulps

in the other room his partner
in crime fixes potato salad
to go with his pastrami on rye
saddened at the thought
mister james gandolfini
has left her lonely world

june two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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