Saturday, November 7, 2009


I was the first girl baseball star.

Babe Ruth once came to me in the holy wooden clubhouse where I dressed alone;

He arrived sober, quiet, hat in hand,

To ask my advice.

I told him:

Live temperately.

Recognize the hand of the divine in everything that you do.

Realize that the pitcher is a major leaguer, just as you are.

Be patient, wait for your pitch, but when it comes,

Swing hard and wail the living snot out of it.

I once met Mister Eddie Rickenbacker,

The celebrated flying ace.

I asked him what it was like.

He told me:

"The sky is filled with devils and blackbirds.

I find the enemy, then send them bullets like children's prayers;

When smoke begins to pour out of their machines like hubris,

They go down singing Lutheran hymns

And German beer drinking songs--

They fall

As softly as spring rain.

I once loved a dancer

Who worked at the One Eyed Cat in Baltimore, Maryland.

She told me she had once danced

For Mister Edgar Allan Poe

On the last night of his life.

People said it was drugs,


Bad living,

But I think he was driven mad by love for someone he could never touch.

He died scratching poetry

Into the cobblestones

With his fingernails.

I was the first girl baseball star.

I once struck out Babe Ruth.

That was when I learned

That failure can be more beautiful, sometimes, than success--

And so I went home to the gypsy camp I came from.

I told them how I'd gripped the ball

And done everything the way I'd planned to;

These women who had known me all of my life,

Just laughed toothlessly, silently,

And sent me to collect the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe.

I took him up tenderly, like an angel, or a new mother,

Stroking his filthy hair;

I told him how every time my bat kissed the ball,

It would fly far and fast into the sky, disappearing like joy over the tin Coca-Cola signs

And into the hands of some grinning urchin in a newsboy cap--

Then I kissed him

And his spirit flew away like an oriole,

Set free by my love

And gone.



Steve E. said...

So girl..."PLAY BALL!" sock-it-to-'em. And kiss that frog who hops onto home plate, you may just set a good man free!

Shay you sure write in a likable style. Thanks.

Riot Kitty said...

Very clever indeed.

Mama Zen said...

I can't even begin to tell you how much I like this one. Beautifully written.

mac said...

Misters Poe and Ruth were fortunate to have crossed your path. The dancer was very lucky indeed, for she had the love of a poet.

Vodka Mom said...


Scarlet said...

This one blew me away, into the sky, over the Coca Cola signs...I l love it, Chica!

Anonymous said...

How interesting!

g-man said...

Shaysie...You ROCK!
This was awesome!
Have you ever seen Woody Allen's movie...Zelig?

jack sender said...

lies give you something to talk about
when friends get together.

Dulce said...

What's to be said here except WOW!!!?
I've had to interrupt my break to read you... I couldn't help it!!!
How can you combine so many issues in just one poem leading to the same and opposite directions? Only You can do that my dear Shay

Anonymous said...

I think I need to reread this one a few times.

I like it.

pheromone girl said...

I wish I could speak French and leave you something in French on your blog but, alas, it is not to be. Now, I could teach you some Zombie slang, but that's another story...

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Holy crap, that's a poem. Makes me want a hot dog, real bad.

Cloudia said...

This is some rich, resonant s**t!

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Kay said...

ohhh...I so needed one of your fixes tonight....thank you for never disappointing! :)

Daryl said...

And his spirit flew away like an oriole,

Set free by my love


Vesper said...

This is another rich poem, filled with fantastic imagery. I especially like the part about E.A. Poe... Excellent, Shay!

Sepiru Chris said...

I came via Cloudia.

And have been reading, avidly.

And when you combined Luther's hymns with beer hall songs (as, of course, they truly were)... ...well, to misquote another, I came, I saw, You conquered.

Well done, elegant phrasing, wonderful images, and not just style, but substance, too.


kaykuala said...

Hey< This is great! You led us through quite some wonderful road! Excellent!


Abin Chakraborty said...

I cant quite put my finger on what exactly that captivated me, but I do love it.kudos1
but could u do something about the font?something a bit more clear?

hedgewitch said...

The phrase "out of the park" comes to mind here. You're a bit more economical these days in length, but here it serves you well to be more discursive. The Rickenbacker part is blood-chilling, like opening a window in your nightgown when it's below zero and feeling that polar air come into the room. Of course, I like the Edgar Allan Poe part best--wandering through a baseball poem and finding salvation. Pure sorcery of the gypsy Fireblossom variety.

Kerry O'Connor said...

You have a poetic voice like none other.. and I ask myself: Jealous much?

This just swept me up and along - I loved how the threads were woven back together at the end, but my fave part is the monologue of the airman. "The sky is filled with devils and blackbirds...

Beautiful gypsy poetry, this.

Lolamouse said...

Perhaps you are the one who put the roses and cognac on EAP's grave all those years?

Anonymous said...

This is awesome.

Anonymous said...

i LOVE your words, SP! can NOT get enough! {only highlighted in the green of envy} {ok, 16 coats of green envy covering every pore of my body!} ♥

Mystic_Mom said...

Now that is one that is over the fence, outta the park and GONE! Major league hit there! Love the Poe too!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow. I have read several of your amazing epics this just keep hitting them outta the park! You go, girl!