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Sunday, September 13, 2020


by Alejandro Escudé

Sometimes I visit the suburb of LA
I grew up in. There was a park
a block away from the house we rented.
I played little league baseball there.
It was a park, like a park with swings
and a pool. Now it’s a homeless encampment
and the little leagues are gone.
Maybe baseball is gone too—I can’t tell.
I mean I watch it. I root for the Mets
because that’s the team I was on
when I was a scrawny lefty outfielder
because there was no way
the coach was playing me on first base
or shortstop. I was lucky if I got to bat.
The coach was a winner; if you’re American,
you know what I mean by that.
I was lucky if I got to bat.
I remember hearing the LA riots looming
in the east; a hornets nest of helicopters,
the smell of smoke, a cacophony of sirens.
My father talked of Reginald Denny
he said: “I just crossed that intersection.”
His face pale. “I had so many tools
in my truck too.” Maybe that’s what
a suburb is, a place where one just
barely avoids the tragedy of America.
Oh there were lawns, basketball hoops
above garage doors. On Sundays,
it was very quiet, and I don’t remember
talking about the President.
He wasn’t a big fat face in the sky.
There weren’t goose-stepping posters
lining every citizen’s mind, a fear-bomb
exploding each half hour. In every suburb,
there’s a Beirut, a Moscow, a Jerusalem,
a Kenosha, a T***p bent over in his driveway,
cutting up a freshly caught rattlesnake.

Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.