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Strange Loops
By Craig Paulenich

"Beisbol has been berry, berry good to me."
— attributed to Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso

Me too.

Fireflied evenings,
the lawn mower's roar still
tingling the fingers,

we'd tune in
"Cleveland Indians Baseball,
brought to you by
Carling Black Label."

"Yoo-Hoo! Mabel! Black Label."

And from Cleveland, far across
the corn, smoking and chugging,
from the Mistake on the Lake,
anachronistically beautiful,
came baseball.

And we listened,
my father drinking pony bottles
of Black Label,
"dead soldiers" he would call them
when I was twenty and
working in the mill, pouring steel
in the sweltering days and still evenings.

When I came home
we would build a small fire
and catch a game from the coast.
But now, I am eleven and
my small glass is filled only once.


CRAIG PAULENICH is an Associate Professor of English at Kent State University -- Salem Campus, a baseball junkie, and editor of Beneath A Single Moon: Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry (Shambhala Press, Boston, 1991)

© 2000 Craig Paulenich


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