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Tuesday, November 08, 2016


by David Spicer

I celebrated my 68th year without
steak, because I never cared for it anyway.
I listened to Fats Domino sing "Blueberry Hill"
over and over again day after day because I could
see him ambling down the New Orleans
sidewalk as he sang, his voice echoing in the night,
and I loved to think about the day I saw
Hank Aaron break the Babe’s record to boos.

Years before the Cubs won the Series,
I didn’t follow baseball like I did
when I was a kid: Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub,
was beautiful flicking the ball toward second
as the first part of a double play to end the inning,
and Willie Mays beyond beautiful the day he hit four
homers and a double when I was eleven.
Now, I plug for the Cubs and hope they’ll win.
But hell, I don’t even know who their stars are.

The year the Cubs won the Series
a racist, misogynistic, xenophobe billionaire
ran for president and almost won, would’ve
if he hadn’t stepped into his own stink
too many times, his opponent an alleged liar,
cuckoldette, and e-mailer extraordinaire hated
by millions because she was an aggressive woman
destined to capture the holy grail of modern politics
and break through the wall of male white lawyers.

The year the Cubs won the Series
I began reading and writing again, attended
readings where gifted wordsmiths read poems
about the day their mothers died, or the cold night
the Titanic sank. They stood at podiums, glancing
down at a published book too few people bought,
staring out at small groups of poetry lovers and poets.
I enrolled in a workshop—many times—and learned
more about craft from a master and other poets.

The year the Cubs won the Series
millions jogged streets for miles and miles
to get a high unique to themselves, millions
more received blessings of a few states
to smoke dope or eat pot brownies and giggle,
and I kept waiting for my state to bless me,
while millions breathed their first breaths
after billions made love to each other hundreds
of times, and millions breathed final breaths.

The year the Cubs won the Series
celebrities passed away, kicked the bucket,
expired, refused to be, bade the world farewell,
or just dropped dead. My favorites: David
Bowie, who sang "Young Americans,"
Patty Duke, Muhammad Ali—the Greatest—
Guy Clark, and Gene Wilder. They left
the scene, skedadled, died, like all of us do,
when it’s time to howl at Pluto and say goodbye.

The year the Cubs won the Series
Bob Dylan received the Nobel Literature Prize
and the hoity-toity crowd scoffed and griped:
He’s not a poet, he’s a singer-songwriter
or Why didn’t the Swedes give it to a minority?
Dylan remained silent, toured the country,
aloof as a spoiled cat, singing his songs
with his back to the audience, strumming his axe,
and never committed to attend the awards ceremony.

My wife almost bled to death on our porch
the year the Cubs won the Series:
On a sunny day, the corner of the steel door
slammed into her Achilles heel, the red porch
a different shade of red and the sun suddenly pale.
I broke three mops cleaning up her life liquid,
used two bottles of bleach to make sure it disappeared
after I drove her to the ER and waited ten hours,
hoping she’d live almost forever with her new blood.

I drank two glasses of Pinot Noir
the night the Cubs won the Series,
ate too many potato chips over five hours
and a rain delay. I watched a disgraced manager
wearing a bow tie hold a mic crowding his
little lips comment on the game with other
experts about the freshly minted World Champs
from the city of the first black president
crying, hugging, and jumping up and down.

The day after the Cubs won the Series
I promised myself I’d lose a few pounds
the next year by not eating potatoes or rice
or cow or pig but just fish and fruit.
I told myself I’d walk three miles a day and smile
when the sun climbed the trees to the sky
and shined while it still could, while clouds
caressed its hot cheeks. I wonder how

that’ll go for me as I sweat and starve?

David Spicer has had poems in In Between Hangovers,  TheNewVerse.News, Gargoyle, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares,  Mad Swirl, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The Laughing Dog, Easy Street, Ploughshares, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, and in the anthologies Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature (Ally Press, 1978), Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing From Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), and A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Best of the Net twice and a Pushcart, and is the author of one full-length collection of poems, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke's Press, 1987), and four chapbooks. He is also the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.