The Seventh Inning

1.   Baseball, I warrant, is not the whole  
occupation of the aging boy.
Far from it: There are cats and roses;  
there is her water body. She fills
the skin of her legs up, like water;  
under her blouse, water assembles,  
swelling lukewarm; her mouth is water,  
her cheekbones cool water; water flows  
in her rapid hair. I drink water
2.   from her body as she walks past me  
to open a screen door, as she bends  
to weed among herbs, or as she lies  
beside me at five in the morning  
in submarine light. Curt Davis threw  
a submarine ball, terrifying
to right-handed batters. Another  
pleasure, thoroughly underrated,  
is micturition, which is even
3.   commoner than baseball. It begins  
by announcing itself more slowly  
and less urgently than sexual
desire, but (confusingly) in the
identical place. Ignorant men
therefore on occasion confuse beer–
drinking with love; but I have discussed  
adultery elsewhere. We allow
this sweet release to commence itself,
4.   addressing a urinal perhaps,  
perhaps poised over a white toilet  
with feet spread wide and head tilted back:  
oh, what’delicious permission! what  
luxury of letting go! what luxe  
yellow curve of mildest ecstasy!  
Granted we may not compare it to  
poignant and crimson bliss, it is as  
voluptuous as rain all night long
5.   after baseball in August’s parch. The  
jade plant’s trunk, as thick as a man’s wrist,  
urges upward thrusting from packed dirt,  
with Chinese vigor spreading limbs out  
that bear heavy leaves—palpable, dark,  
juicy, green, profound: They suck, the way  
bleacher fans claim inhabitants of
box seats do. The Fourth of July we  
exhaust stars from sparklers in the late
6.   twilight. We swoop ovals of white-gold  
flame, making quick signatures against
an imploding dark. The five-year-old  
girl kisses the young dog goodbye and  
chases the quick erratic kitten.  
When she returns in a few years as  
a tall shy girl, she will come back to  
a dignified spreading cat and a
dog ash-gray on the muzzle. Sparklers
7.   expel quickly this night of farewell:  
If they didn’t burn out, they wouldn’t  
be beautiful. Kurt, may I hazard  
an opinion on expansion? Last
winter meetings, the major leagues (al–
ready meager in ability,
scanty in starting pitchers) voted
to add two teams. Therefore minor league  
players will advance all too quickly,
8.   with boys in the bigs who wouldn’t have  
made double-A forty years ago.
Directors of player personnel
will search like poets scrambling in old  
notebooks for unused leftover lines,
but when was the last time anyone
cut back when he or she could expand?  
Kurt, I get the notion that you were
another who never discarded
9.   anything, a keeper from way back.  
You smoked cigarettes, in inflation–
times rolled from chopped-up banknotes, billions  
inhaled and exhaled as cancerous  
smoke. When commerce woke, Men was awake.  
If you smoked a cigar, the cigar  
band discovered itself glued into  
collage. Ongoing life became the  
material of Kurtschwittersball.
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