nthposition online magazine

Shot, Babe Ruth, Emile Griffith & Let me out

by David Lawrence

[ poetry - march 11 ]

Shot

My head is so empty that it is a prayer.
It is silence.
It is a huge hum in an ill-defined space.
I don't even know what it is asking for.
My hands are cupped
Like they know the secret handshake
Of an Indian Tribe.
Or are they imitating the Van Burren Boys'
Handshake on 'Seinfeld?'
I want to pray but I don't know which
Direction to point my fingers?
God is a sneaky, hiding character.
There is nothing in my head
But the unanswered majesty of ignorant
Expansion.
I spread myself because there is nothing
Left to contain.
I am spent.
I am the casing of a bullet on the ground.

 

Babe Ruth

It isn't that but it might be some accord
In the distraction of simplicities.
Knobbed in the module of answers,
I see the intimate monogamy of truth.
If I could find the meaning
Within the confusion
I might settle for a homerun at night
Under the lights of Yankee Stadium.
Knock it out of the park.
Send the banister on its merry way,
Sliding up the stands.
Babe Ruth must have known many outfields.
But to me he is a short fat man running
The bases.
My family bought the house he used
To visit in Great Neck.
I would dream about his eating hotdogs
In the dugout.
I would have invited him to visit me
If I actually liked baseball
And if I weren't allergic to the smell of death.

 

Emile Griffith

Time passes like cereal falling from a spoon.
It tastes good when you are young
But after sixty years the milk spoils.
You bang your teeth with the spoon
And they crumble.
You need dentures.
I remember a fat Italian man in his fifties
In the cubicle next to mine in jail
Who kept his dentures in a glass.
His words no longer had any bite.
He couldn't back them up.
In order to practice being tough I start fights
With teenagers in the park.
In his sixties Emile Griffith told me
That he beat up two young men on the way
To the gym.
Did he kiss them after?
Did he secretly have a crush on Benny 'Kid'
Parrett when he beat him to death?

 

Let me out

There are tributaries that don't salute your honor.
You have no honor.
You are just a regular run across a park
In a summer where the sun can't line up
With the heat.
You are neither grand nor sultry;
You are just in between atheism and religion.
You are matter of fact more than grandiose.
I knock on your door to find out what
You are hiding inside.
But I am inside.
I go out into the sunshine blasting the afternoon
With a curious wobble because you have kicked
Me off of my stride.