Friday, February 11, 2005

Arlington Stadium

Arlington Stadium diamond is buried
In a Kilamanjaro of scooped-out pond peat.
Right behind old home plate,
Mounds of green grass bubble,
Claiming Saint Jude's glory against
Staccato, encyclopedic volumes
Of late-season, dog day fades.
They say an old black man--
Dressed in a guard's uniform
With a Texas Rangers' insignia--
Patrols the sun-punished remains
Of Arlington's tinker toy park
As if games were still going on
Every night at the Turnpike.
He makes the rounds.
Regularly checks the cluttered ramps,
Seat backs strewn in an autumn pile of leaves,
Chairless rows of buckled, heat-bent steel,
Windows spiderwebby in little white lies,
Dark stairwells with broken chairs,
An eight-ton scoreboard lying dead,
Knotted telephone lines stunned into silence,
The gutted luxury boxes desolate except for
The speckled and cracked wall mirrors
Indicating a premonition of
Seven more years of second place.
He listens for the haunting echoes
And speaks to the ghosts of overturned Poseidon
While the refuse of Rangers' history
Is just a salvage barge away...
If they can just find a buyer
For the steel.
This is my dream denied.
This is my lost thirteenth year.
My found treasure. Aired only in boxscores
In a brown and faded and distant archive,
Ted Williams managed outcasts so bad
Dick Billings was a shooting Lone Star.
Is there anything of value I can reclaim?
Where is Dick Billings' red, white and blue
Wrist band or Mickey Rivers' broken speech?
Where is chatter so remote as to defy transcription?
After the last game they lifted home plate by helicopter
Like a clump of old sod they used to replant Comiskey,
And locked it into the new park
Where there are new dreams for others. Not me.
Just saw Nolan Ryan, he's doin' fine--Not me.
There is my youth but where are my dreams?
We moved San Antone in seventy-two
And I never saw one damn game here.
I stayed locked in a closet for a decade
Longing for that girl at the soda pop stand.
Now I'm back to break off
A piece of useless memorabilia
And wash it with tears to give it soul.
Somewhere in the humid winds
I hear the whisper
Of muted, hospital sounds.


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