Baseball – John Updike

Image result for baseball

It looks easy from a distance,
easy and lazy, even,
until you stand up to the plate
and see the fastball sailing inside,
an inch from your chin,
or circle in the outfield
straining to get a bead
on a small black dot
a city block or more high,
a dark star that could fall
on your head like a leaden meteor.

The grass, the dirt, the deadly hops
between your feet and overeager glove:
football can be learned,
and basketball finessed, but
there is no hiding from baseball
the fact that some are chosen
and some are not—those whose mitts
feel too left-handed,
who are scared at third base
of the pulled line drive,
and at first base are scared
of the shortstop’s wild throw
that stretches you out like a gutted deer.

There is nowhere to hide when the ball’s
spotlight swivels your way,
and the chatter around you falls still,
and the mothers on the sidelines,
your own among them, hold their breaths,
and you whiff on a terrible pitch
or in the infield achieve
something with the ball so
ridiculous you blush for years.
It’s easy to do. Baseball was
invented in America, where beneath
the good cheer and sly jazz the chance
of failure is everybody’s right,
beginning with baseball.

Memory Gardens  – Allen Ginsberg, (on the death of Jack Kerouac, October 21, 1969)

Image result for kerouac and ginsberg

covered with yellow leaves

            in morning rain

-Quel Deluge

            he threw up his hands

                        & wrote the Universe dont exist

                                    & died to prove it.

Full Moon over Ozone Park

            Airport Bus rushing thru dusk to

                                    Manhattan,

Jack the Wizard in his

                        grave at Lowell

for the first nite—

That Jack thru whose eyes I

                        saw

            smog glory light

                        gold over Manhattan’s spires

            will never see these

                        chimneys smoking

anymore over statues of Mary

                        in the graveyard

Black misted canyons

                        rising over the bleak

                                    river

Bright doll-like ads

            for Esso Bread—

Replicas multiplying beards

            Farewell to the Cross—

Eternal fixity, the big headed

            wax painted Buddha doll

                        pale resting incoffined—

Empty-skulled New

                        York streets

Starveling phantoms

            filling city—

Wax dolls walking park

                        Ave,

Light gleam in eye glass

Voice echoing thru Microphones

Grand Central Sailor’s

            arrival 2 decades later…

                   feeling melancholy—

Nostalgia for Innocent World

            War II—

A million corpses running

       across 42nd street

Glass buildings rising higher

                        transparent

                           aluminium—

artificial trees, robot sofas,

                Ignorant cars—

One Way Street to Heaven.

                    *

Gray Subway Roar

A wrinkled brown faced fellow

                        with swollen hands

Leans to the blinking plate glass

            mirroring white poles, the heavy car

            sways on tracks uptown to Columbia—

Jack no more’ll step off at Penn Station

            anonymous erranded, eat sandwich

            & drink beer near New Yorker Hotel or walk,

under the shadow of Empire State.

Didn’t we stare at each other length of the car

            & read headlines in faces thru Newspaper Holes?

Sexual cocked & horny bodied young, look

            at beauteous Rimbaud & Sweet Jenny

                        riding to class from Columbus Circle.

“Here the kindly dopefiend lived.”

and the rednecked sheriff beat the longhaired

                                    boy on the ass.

—103d street Broadway, me & Hal abused for sidewalk

                                                begging twenty-five years ago.

Can I go back in time & lay my head on a teenage

                        belly upstairs on 110th Street?

or step off the iron car with Jack

            at blue-tiled Columbia sign?

at last the old brown station where I had

a holy vision’s been rebuilt, clean ceramic

over the scum & spit & come of quarter century.

                              *

Flying to Maine in a trail of black smoke

Kerouac’s obituary conserves Time’s

                                    Front Paragraphs—

Empire State in Heaven Sun Set Red,

                                    White mist in old October

                        over the billion trees of Bronx—

                                    There’s too much to see—

Jack saw sun set red over Hudson horizon

                        Two three decades back

thirtynine fourtynine fiftynine

                                    sixtynine

John Holmes pursed his lips,

                                    wept tears.

Smoke plumed up from Oceanside chimneys

                        plane roars toward Montauk

                                                stretched in red sunset—

Northport, in the trees, Jack drank

            rot gut & made haikus of birds

                        tweetling on his porch rail at dawn—

Fell down & saw Death’s golden lite

                        in Florida garden a decade ago.

Now taken utterly, soul upward,

                        & body down in wood coffin

                                    & concrete slab-box.

I threw a kissed handful of damp earth

                        down on the stone lid

                                    & sighed

                        looking in Creeley’s one eye,

Peter sweet holding a flower

            Gregory toothless bending his

                        knuckle to Cinema machine—

and that’s the end of the drabble tongued

                        Poet who sounded his Knock-up

                                    throughout the Northwest Passage.

Blue dusk over Saybrook, Holmes

                        sits down to dine Victorian—

Time has a ten-page spread on

               Homosexual Fairies!

Well, while I’m here I’ll

              do the work—

and what’s the Work?

          To ease the pain of the living.

Everything else, drunken

                      dumbshow.

October 22-29, 1969

shame & guilt

Jesus was concerned with the healing of human shame and human guilt. He was always taking away people’s shame, always taking away their low self-esteem, and reintroducing them to the village, the temple, the priesthood, and their families. He was healing relationships even more than just healing bodies. And now many would say that we (the Church/Christians) have ended up being the chief purveyors of guilt and shame, instead of healing it and transforming it into life and light. We have decided, for some reason, that it is better to remind people of their unworthiness and brokenness, instead of their potential to be temples of the Holy Spirit. It became taught and learned helplessness in far too many cases. – Richard Rohr, OFM