Archive for March 2014
Baseball is back today. Thank God. Maybe the flurry of swinging bats will beat back the cold fronts that have been sticking to us like duct tape. I felt warmer by the mere act of turning a ballgame on the radio as I drove home from school this afternoon.
I don’t have many blockbuster predictions for the season. My predictions never tend to be of the blockbuster type anyhow. But what I’m thinking is the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers will be facing off at the end of October. Here’s why: The Dodgers have pretty much become the West Coast Yankees. They’ve shelled out a lot of money to buy a solid team that should go a long ways into the playoffs. They have the pitching and the bats to get it done. But the also have a heated rivalry with Arizona, their all-time rival San Francisco isn’t going anywhere, and San Diego is hungry. That should make for a contentious division, perhaps enough so to rival the American League East. As for the Tigers, they’re going to do it with powerhouse pitching. Their new manager will install his on-base game instead of relying on the power hitting that failed them the last two seasons. But they will have timely power hitting. Defense will back this all up. It won’t be easy come October, but they can do it. I like that Miguel Cabrera is back at first base and Victor Martinez is the designated pinch hitter in the fourth spot in the lineup. In fact, he’s already hit a home run this season. What’s more, the new skipper is working on a third base pick-off move. I have to give him credit for inventiveness. It reminds me of another well-known manager.
But who knows what is going to happen? Nobody. That’s why they play the game. The only prediction I can make with any certainty is that I will watch a lot of Tiger, Brewer, and Oriole games, keep some good scorecards, and find a way to get to more than my share of games this summer. And speaking of the other teams I follow, I’d be darn happy to see Milwaukee and Baltimore make it to the post-season. Realistically, they’ll be wild-card teams.
Ah, baseball. Has it really been five months?
Here’s the final installation in this mini serial. I’ve been wanting to write an imagist poem for some time now, because I envy what William Carlos Williams does and want to do it myself. A colleague dropped an imagist poem on my desk a few weeks back–something she literally scratched out on the way to work based on something she saw during her drive. That got me thinking about this all the more. Truthfully, I was jealous. I know there are images in my daily life that are ripe with deeper meanings if only I take the time to sit down with pen and paper and mine them. Finally, this came to me two weeks ago when we were let out of school early because of… of course… the horrible winter weather. I spent some quality time that night crafting this, and am pleased with the results. I think I’ll try to do more of these. If nothing else, they are an excellent exercise in concision.
And I borrowed that semi-colon from Ezra Pound.
Faculty Lot, January by Jeff Burd
Wipers pulled away from windshields,
the blades tilting and tottering in the wind;
a chorus of arms waving us away,
warning us: Danger. Go home.
Since running outside has been pretty much impossible given the horrible conditions we’ve had for two months, I’ve been making time on my bike on the trainer. An hour-long ride each week has been enough to keep up my stamina, and watching some Netflix while I do it makes it at least tolerable. The poet in me wants to find the deeper meanings in this and other mundane activities. Writing this poem helped me to that exact thing.
This was another fun one to write as I labored to figure out what the activity really meant, and what the poem was going to say. I picked up something from studying Kay Ryan and made use of it starting in the middle of the first stanza, and I borrowed from myself with “Frost crackles and creeps up the window glass.” The closing lines aren’t quite doing what I want them to yet, but here they are nonetheless.
When The Old Man Heaves Snow At Us by Jeff Burd
I jack my bike up on the trainer
and take long rides to nowhere
right there in the living room.
I hunch over the handlebars and
pedal. Sweat rivers down my chest.
My legs are young again.
I sit up and ride hands-free
because why not?
My tires hum on the asphalt
as I fly past golden wheat
waving in the wind beside
the long, shallow-sloping
roads of last summer. The sweet
smell of ryegrass hangs like perfume
over fields striped with windrows.
Cows raise their heads in time
to see a blur of a smile.
The thermometer outside is
a vacant tube.
Frost crackles and creeps
up the window glass.
I can’t outride it.
I can only ride through it.