ebbortz

Monday, April 17, 2017

recovering notes from the deep, part 9

i should say their surnames
before i forget them
more than fifty years have passed
     but i'll say them to myself
since i'd like to stay away
from phone calls in the middle of the night
and lawsuits

before there were murals in the neighborhood
there were empty walls and vacant lots
and we'd chalk a rectangle on the wall
for a strike zone
for a hard pitched
tennis ball
and a batter
for a pickup game
and the mystique
of a ted kluszewski at bat
in the bottom of the ninth
the pirates with bases loaded
and mostly no hope
of winning

columbia place was an alley
     row houses
and soot on the window sills
and your voice carried
even when there was
no harmony

about the time
someone became sixteen
and got their hands
on the family car
the drive-ins just weren't
     enough
of an escape
from the smoke stacks
war dead 
& nightly news

there was always ripple wine
or thunderbird
to get you sick
i'm a lucky one with a low tolerance
learning my lessons
     early
in the shadows
of the west view park roller coaster
(long gone)

for an under-achiever
high school was more like
putting in time
occasionally finding a book
that moved you
     & a couple of english teachers
who refused to force feed you
     the script

when i started taking the streetcar
from the northside to the leafy east end
more than one
would ask me
why
why are you deserting
     us
     aren't we good enough

--- e b bortz
 

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