Tuesday, August 13, 2002

The weekend a blur of activity--from seeing Austin Powers on Friday night (funny if one is in the right frame of mind), to all the errands and shopping on Saturday (five hour's worth) to the musical Saturday night--very fun; "Singin' In the Rain" at the Civic. A welcome respite. Sunday even busier; the day spent getting ready for the birthday cookout in the evening. Ended up with 23 people in all--counting us. Plenty of good food and drink. JDR was able to be there for a couple of hours. I think TJD had a good birthday--his 23rd. To Wizards last night--a buck pop, beer and hot dog night. Perfect summer evening, and a fast game, for a change--it was over by 8; sometimes they aren't done til 9:30. News yesterday that the baseball players did not set a strike date--yet. MSNBC.COM has a good story, but it may be too optimistic. Mike Celizic is less convinced it was any real progress. I never saw a organization so determined to, not just shoot themselves in the foot, but in their very heart. If they thought fans were lost after '94, they ain't seen nothin' yet--they may lose 'em all if they strike this year. Even diehards. I still remember '94--they struck on TJD's birthday. We had a ballgame--then took some of the boys to the Wizards. I remember thinking, our day had been so fun, and so full of baseball as it should be, even as the spoiled, deluded "major-leaguers" were killing their season. I really, really don't understand the thing at all, I guess--never having had to deal with that much money. Thank goodness.

Work in Progress
Crying at Starbucks
I'm just here for a latte, vanilla,
Tall, decaf, and a scone, because
These errands and this shopping
Are wearing me out. I notice them
As I enter, a man and a woman at
An outside table, he too young for
His salt-and-pepper hair; she rather
Nondescript--curly brown hair, is all I see.
But when I have my order, and I exit to
Claim a table myself, I see he's holding her hand,
And she's crying.
He's not saying much, but has
That look on his face men get in
Such situations. Part concern, part embarrassment.
Partly nonplussed. She hides her face
Behind her hand. I am sitting at a table
Around the corner,
But I can see them through the windows.
(Voyeur me, enjoying the pain of others
On such a summer Saturday.)
She wipes her eyes, and they rise,
And walk off, hand-in-hand,
Leaving me to wonder,
Why does one come to cry at Starbucks?

Ohio Poet
Poem: "Reunion," by Robert Kinsley from Endangered Species (Orchises Press).


Here past the edge of town,
this one as well as any other
in the Adirondacks, the trees lock arms
and lean into each other like
relatives at a family reunion.
This is some history; listen to the names,
Sugar Maple, Black Spruce, Wild Cherry,
Sweet Birch, the old White Oaks. On and
on into the hillsides until my tongue rolls
and I whisper Ohio, imagining this is what it was
one hundred years ago, imagining this is what
whispered in the ear of Tecumseh, who fought for it
for twenty years, knowing when he started he couldn't
win, but who fought and lost anyway, imagining
this is what whispered to my great grandfather
Marvin Peabody, when he dropped down out of the
Northeast. Who left when he heard his neighbors
unfolding the arms of trees with axes and bucksaws
and headed west, rubbing the fine dust from his eyes.
But came back when he saw that like Ohio, that too
was lost. He came back I suppose because he had
nowhere else to go. Or maybe he just liked the name
Ohio. And why not. Whisper it now, whisper
Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, and amid the miles of concrete,
under the culverts dumping waste, around the smokestacks
over by the river, a breeze picks up
sending a ripple, like a litany
through the family of tree.

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