Love Story

Down in the mines, Mordecai Centennial Brown finds Cerberus
guarding the gates of Hell.
He's alone. Spirits call to him. "Ah well," he says. "Ah well..."

Taking a triple headed dog by the jaw is a recipe for loss.
Any chippie at the lunch counter could have told Mordecai that,
but he never took advice about a dog, from a cat.

"Look at this blood, all this damage," said the doctor, shaking his head.
"Lucky you ain't going to lose the whole hand, young man.
Lucky you ain't dead."

Mordecai Centennial "Miner" Brown went on, with his acquired deformity,
to fashion a curveball that broke so sharply, so unhittably,
that it made him a star in the early days of the century.

Imagine the unlikelihood that he would wrestle Cerberus again,
get loose and come back, curving himself around your dreams
from underneath your bed.

He's in love with you, girl, or what's left of him is;
you with that Cubs cap hung on the bed post and your long smooth restless legs.
Hear him, how he cajoles. How he begs.

You don't look so good, showing up for work an hour late,
circles like coal dust under your eyes, too much for concealer,
and the witches in the break room whisper, "What's the deal with her?"

On October 8th, 1908, Miner Brown pitched his greatest game.
You weren't born yet, and he wasn't dead.
Now, all night, you see it, in dreams, in the rain, in your head.

He had that devastating pitch, and great command.
Being dead isn't his fault, being alone isn't yours--
Go on, fluttering bird, stop fighting. Let him love you. Swallow hard. Hold his hand.

for both Karin's "remains" challenge, and my BFF Joy Jones' "poetry to the third power" challenge, both at Real Toads. 


hedgewitch said…
Swooning at the rhyme, and the grue as well. I love everything about this fleshless Miner-leaguer, from his specially formed deformity (a la Tom Robbins) to his lust for a living fan to 'warm up' to. As always you are such a master of period feel--even here where it's kind of in the background, you manage to make me feel like I'm looking out the window of a time machine. Thanks so much for playing ball, Shay,and the three headed dog is a wonderful riff on the theme of three, as well as the tercets.
Fireblossom said…
"Miner-leaguer"!!! Ha, I love it, Hedge. And yeah, even cowgirls get the blues.
Sanaa Rizvi said…
This is absolutely amazing..!! Love how you merged two prompts into one poem.
brudberg said…
Ha... love the creativeness of this... he did have three fingers, amazing what he could do with them (I had to google him... my knowledge of baseball is limited)
Kerry O'Connor said…
I was so swept up in the story, the amazing blend of myth, folklore and honest to goodness history that the rhymes almost slipped my attention. But when I caught them, I marvelled at the tidy way you owned the whole tercet shebang.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Wow! YOU Hit it out of the park, kiddo.
Anonymous said…
You are quite a storyteller. And that ending!
Magaly Guerrero said…
I love it when a poem mixes myth and living so seamlessly that it's difficult to see which is which. I wouldn't be surprised if I open a vintage newspaper and read that ball player wrestled Hades' dog and almost of him kind of lived to tell the tale.
De Jackson said…
I love the staccato feel of the last stanza, especially...and the flawless blending of myth and history. So well done.
Cloudia said…
Satisfying and nourishing. Not a show pony poem.

If I was on a desert island and had to take only one line?

"Now, all night, you see it, in dreams, in the rain, in your head."

Like a good painting over the couch, I could contemplate that, and see new aspects for a lifetime!
Cloudia said…
And being alone is not your fault. And the sort-of time travel thang..
Outlawyer said…
Wonderful, Shay, a great story, a great voice (of storyteller) and the wonderful lyricism underneath the gruff surface. In a car so can't write well but super cool poem, thanks . K.
C.C. said…
The ending is sublime.
Susie Clevenger said…
Love it. You gave me a kick in the butt to quit worrying about what I've lost and use the hell out of what I've got left. You are a story teller like no other.
Sioux Roslawski said…
Shay--My comment would not be near as clever as some of the others already left. I'm not into baseball at all. However your poem made me wish I was.

However, I CAN comment on the Jethro Tull song. A serving of Ian Anderson is always delightful. Thanks.
Ellecee said…
I enjoyed this so much. As others have said, you gave life to a real character, and credence to a myth.
Gillena Cox said…
myth, fantasy and legend, very crafty mix

much love...
grapeling said…
damn, Shay, the worlds you create. amazing. ~
Goodness gracious me!

I was going to Google him too, not sure if you made him up – though he kinda felt real, behind your story – only Bjorn saved me the trouble. (My knowledge of baseball is even more limited. Well, I have heard of Babe Ruth....)

What a rollicking, rip-roaring, wicked piece!
Gemma Wiseman said…
Your tercets are like snippets from a slowly rolling film - some dynamic and magical excerpts and then moving on. I am not well-versed in baseball and associated names, so I read the poem for the drama, the texture and 'the feel'. And it feels great.
Your brain is so cool.

I love Stanzas 2, 3, and 6. Oh, and the last one, of course. But the thing is, as soon as you stop fighting, they stop loving you. I've learned THAT the hard way, too many times to count.