March 12, 2003


today, in 1922 jack kerouac was born. in 1926, john clellon holmes was born.

and in 1962, darryl strawberry was born. here is a poem by paul beatty, who studied under allen ginsberg, mentioning darryl strawberry:

darryl strawberry asleep in the field of dreams

They raised the price of dreams,
blue inked cans of del monte creamed corn
where baseball players
are reborn

in their prime,
to play in modern day times
and not only was the ball white

shoeless Joe Jackson was white

his uni was white
all the dead white players was white
takin batting practice in white home uniforms
under white Iowa clouds.

I squirmed in my seat hoping for a
warm thunder storm

that would rain down cool pappa bell
and hell would drip off corn stalk blades,

pool into a homestead gray

in a gray away uniform,
flip down flip-up shades,
and say -- hey now he's really playin --

got to wear your sun glasses
so you can feel cool.

But it's only a movie
and film school heaven is
where white doctors who played
only an inning and a half
can pray for a tinker everlastin chance to groove the 0-2 sinker.

White boys steady leaning in
truly believin this is the best movie they've ever seen
but none of em asked Josh Gibson to slo-dance
across the color line that
fall in an Iowa ball field

broken but unhealed.
Fathers younger than their sons play catch
onna mismatch patch
of natural grass and James Earl Jones' broad ass.

Hollywood's black fat majesty
bellows... and the people will come.
and put the suicide squeeze on my mother's mother
whose color
is the same
as a night game infield

...and the people will come.
to see black fathers to be
with scars on their knees
from shinbones split in half
and knocked off kneecaps

practice the tap dunks they will pump over their daughters n sons

...and the people will come.
How could daughters and fathers build
wooden bleachers
just to sit and cheer male features.

If umpire Pam Postema dies in the minor leagues
Ty Cobb'l hook slides into heaven
and she'll just call him out
and he will
get up, dust himself off, call her a...
brush it off as a tease.

Is this heaven,

no, it's Iowa.
Is this heaven,

no, it's Harlem.
Is this heaven,

no, it's bedrock.
Is this heaven,

no, it's Cabrini Green.
Do they got a team

ain't sure they got dreams
damn sure they ain't got a field,
or crops that yield.
Is that the sign for 'steal,'

I approach the third base coach
and ask 'is the movies for real.'

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