I think I will
silence my voice
listen to music
the sound of your
o, the muse
will still be with me
but the words
she brings me
will be like
the ballroom floor
& though they
will be silent
to the ear
I hope you hear them
because they are
for you & only
Archive for December, 2009
I would phone the police,
but I know they won’t come
and would only blame me
if they did
and when I tried to explain
to them that nothing was missing,
it would sound like a lie,
and they would look
from me to the woman
seated at the table
with her head bowed
as evening quietly trembled
and recomposed the shadows
of unseen things.
Beneath the glass counter at Bleacher Bums card shop lies a modern day reliquary for the memento mori of the only saints who matter any more. Rather than the knucklebone of Saint Andrew or Saint Felix the Eviscerated’s toenail, Bleacher Bums deals in the relics of sport’s saints, those enshrined in the Hall of Fame and those yet to be canonized. There are bits of game worn jerseys and scraps of game-used bats pressed into cardboard.
I hover over the artifacts from the patron saints of the north side. A swath of Andre Dawson’s all star jersey and a section of elastic band from Ryne Sandberg’s jockstrap offered by Topps Triple Thread. Only one of three in existence and a steal at the low price of two hundred and fifty dollars.
“Can I help you, fella?”
The guy running things looks old enough to have witnessed the last Cubbies World Series appearance. His shirt pisses me off immediately, two disparate tees sewn together down the center like a Windy City Frankenstein. The blue side bears the Cubbies insignia, the black side… The bullshit White Sox.
“You suppose to be some kinda Chi-Town Switzerland?”
Swiss Miss cocks a bristled eyebrow and crosses his arms above his Old Style keg of a belly. “You come in here to bust my balls? Or is there something else you might be needing? Cause Zambrano’s on the mound, buddy, and he’s carrying a no-hitter into the bottom of the second.”
“I’m hunting Kuntz. Rusty Kuntz. The greatest .230 career hitter ever to swat a lazy fly ball to center field with the bases loaded.”
“Hmph.” He braces his hands on the counter, flexing the beer flab in a vaguely muscular way. “Kuntz, you say?”
“Rusty Kuntz. I have the largest collection of Kuntz memorabilia in the country.”
Granted, that only encompasses about five years of baseball cards from the late seventies to early eighties. There are no game-used paraphernalia cards bearing Kuntz swag. I procured a Twins jersey worn by Kuntz for ten dollars and a half case of Schlitz.
“I seem to remember a Koontz coming up with the White Sox organization. Retired from the Tigers after the ‘84 World Series.”
“That’s him. Except it’s Kuntz. Like a vagina.”
“It’s Koontz. Like the writer of Phantoms.”
“Kuntz, I say. There ain’t no Os in his name.”
“So, you’re a Koontz expect?”
“I know a thing or two about Kuntz.”
“What? You a relative?”
“More like a brother-in-arms. They call me Philip Kuntz.”
“Yeah, buddy, I can tell by the way you’re standing, you couldn’t fill up a shot glass.”
We stand there on opposite sides of the counter, arms crossed over our chests. He stares at my forehead. I stare at a plaque of Nolan Ryan, blood dripping from his nose onto his jersey, as though the picture were saying “see, baseball’s not a sport for pussies.”
“You can’t tell that by the way I’m standing.”
“I can tell that by you being a thirty-something year-old man asking for the baseball cards of a man with a funny name.”
“All right, I’ll concede your point, old man. So you gonna get me all your Rusty Kuntz or not?”
“No. I don’t have any Rusty Koontz for you. You bought all the Rusty Koontz cards I had in the inventory when you came sniffing around here for Rusty Koontz last year.”
“You not remember having this same exact conversation with me last time?”
“I actually have this conversation all the time.”
“Yeah, I suspected as much. You see that bat hanging up there? The one autographed by Keith Moreland, Jody Davis and Leon Durham?”
“Yeah. Three hundred bucks is a little steep to be asking for it, ain’t it?”
“Next time you walk in here asking for Rusty Koontz–”
“Next time I catch you in here, I’m gonna take that bat off the wall and hit you in the face with it. Understand?”
“Good. Now fuck off.”
I walk out into the hazy sunlight and breathe in the refinery tinged air. There’s time to kill and not a lot of murder implements at my disposal.
Somewhere, Rusty Kuntz possesses a World Series ring and Ryne Sandberg does not. That’s the kind of world we live in.
There is a permanent sadness in her face.
Everywhere I look these days.
Like abuse unchecked.
Incomplete children running around
For sins that were never their own.
For sins they will lacerate themselves over.
I see them when I look at her.
The heaviness of her face.
The permanent sadness.
I want to do something about it.
I want to cure you all,
But I can only show you the way.
I want to talk to the president
And tell them to address this.
I want to broadcast a Poem
That addresses it so the world can hear.
I want to lift that heaviness because she can’t sleep from the nightmares
From behind her eyes.
You tell me you used to cut yourself,
Now you’re into the pain of tattoos.
Why does this world take beauty
And turn it into pain?
Trying to find the words
To keep this conversation going.
Not knowing what happens
If it dies.
Penny for your thoughts
That you hold so close.
Feeling this conversation could die,
Or you could loose interest.
Events you thought inconsequential…
Lightly touching my hip in the
Used book store or rubbing the
Small of back at the amusement park…
Probably whisked through your oblivion,
Meant the world to me…
But that was our walk through events for all time…
Never to happen again.
The smallest gestures, you threw away–while the
Receiver of the cherished gifts…
Suffered in the early morning hours
When cries are heard by one…
I have never spent more conscious days in my life when I was with you…
Every movement of step a beautiful journey…
A surprise—you not knowing;
I quietly exhilarated…
At every glance or stare…
Disregarded? Probably, in your reality of real world milieu…
They were bibles to me…to take out, studied and worshipped
Then put away until another 4 AM epiphany starts me pacing in
My silent gallows…
Only the beating of the heart, or the sobbing of the one crow
Who sits alone on top of the birdbath…
Are heard while the world is still asleep….
My grief is silent…the soul is saddened.
I may never be home.
Cleaning their bedroom
after my father and step
mother died, I found a
sealed envelope of photos
of my mother some fifty,
maybe sixty years before
Of that woman he had
correctly said, “She needed
help. More help of a kind
I couldn’t provide her
in two million years.”
He had so moved on,
I thought he wasn’t upset
when I told him she’d
died alone and crazy in
some sadassed New York
City hotel room full of
Apparently, I was wrong
about how he must have
felt. Was wrong about
more than I could ever
Knowing not where my next meal will
I cast my last crumbs of bread on
Knowing not how I will make my
I pick up a penny on the street for
Knowing not what way I can hit my
I sing in the subway hoping someone will
see or care
Knowing not what will arouse my
I lower my trousers and continue to pump
quarters into slots
Knowing not who will ever allot me my highest
I pick up this pen and write another damned
Albert Hotel, Mission District, San Francisco
so much of life is just
of your own humanity slogging
through the light
the dull and agonizing moments
getting out of bed
in the morning
backaches jointaches ingrown
so much of life is just
trying to survive yourself
getting through the latest crisis
an unforgettable tragedy
even the happiest ones
are finally sad
waiting for a letter to arrive
you know will never
and all the menial tasks that rule
a load of dirty laundry
upon the soul
the heaviness of your own humanity
expecting nothing less
than a miracle
to come your way
(when death is the only
so much of life
is laughter and the small occasional
a blue flash
of epiphany in the brain
when it’s not too
all these strange and wondrous inventions
that help us
all those other ones
City in the distance
vulture jets circling
over pillars of smoke,
ground shaking beneath his boots,
wanting to break ranks and run
hoping for a-go-home
fear infesting shadows,
only dreams carrying him home,
thoughts of his girl near
wanting to grab her naked hips,
pulling her into his bones,
but nothing helping him out of this
suck of war.