INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Solomon Musa Haruna
Michael Lee Johnson
Ann Arbor Review
is an independent
International Journal & ezine
Copyright (c) 2020
All rights revert back to each poet.
--editor / Southeastern Florida
note: in print 1967 - 1980. Irregular publications 1980 - 2004.
As ezine 2004 - present. Most of 53 years all together....
Silver Grey Fox
After we say Amen we have doughnuts
and orange juice here in Sunday School class.
I don't get doughnuts at home. Too sweet and
Mother says. Tapioca
is about our speed. If I hang on
until the end of class then I get mine.
They sit store-bought on Mrs Piper's desk.
The juice is in a bottle, unopened.
It's my turn to shake it up and mix those
pieces of fruit with the orangey water.
called. I'll shake the hell out of it,
too. I like it foamy at the top. Say
Mrs. Piper tells me. Frothy
is the more preciser word. Yes
ma'am, I say.
I'll say anything she wants to get it.
We don't get orange juice at home, just
Tang, which is fun to make but I don't like
but it's cheaper, Mother says, and besides,
If it's good enough for our astronauts
it's good enough for us,
but I'd eat most
anything to be in outer space, or
drink. Next week it's David and Goliath.
I know a little about the story.
I'm small for my age so it's pretty neat
how David beats him, Goliath, I mean,
with just a slingshot, or is it a sling.
It would make a good movie, starring me
as David and for Goliath maybe
Wilt Chamberlain or somebody else tall,
like Lurch on The Addam's Family.
I've got a slingshot at home. I can hit
a beer bottle from a hundred yards. I
take that back or it's a lie--twenty feet.
Of course I don't hit it every time
but David had God's help and the stakes were
bigger and I just like to show off, I
admit it, and that's a sin, but I'm just
ten years old and I don't know God from Adam
but I try. Chocolate doughnuts sound good, too.
I listen in time to catch the grand slam
off the bat of a rookie on my team.
It's a timely hit, it's a round-tripper,
it clears the bases, puts up a four-spot,
and cuts into the lead--now it's 10-9,
the top of the sixth. The tale of the tape
has this line-drive homerun at three hundred
ninety-eight feet--not as far as they fly
in a lot of ballparks, but far enough
to clear the left-field wall here. The home team
fans are silent now, some hopes hammered out.
Oh, well; someone's got a cruel souvenir
out there in the cheap-seat left field bleachers.
I have the best seat in the house: my chair
me, speakers left and right--I catch myself
turning my head to one, then the other,
as if I'm on the pitcher's mound and they
are runners on first and third. The batter
stands in the box of the blank wall in front
of me, but I'm not looking at him
--it's the strike zone's what I'm after. I'm blind
to the umpire—hardly notice him, just
up this next pitch. He's working his fingers
to signal what he wants me to throw but
I'm shaking him off, still shaking him off
--I know what pitch will bail me out of this
full-blown jam of bitterness. Now he hops
lightly on his feet even as he squats
and shifts his mitt to the inside corner
on this right-handed hitter. Why am I
thinking of my honeymoon, when I stared
into the darkness inside of the night?
I was afraid I couldn't get it done,
would have to call in some bullpen relief.
Relax, my girl said. You're trying too hard.
Just feel your way along and so will I
and we'll let things play out naturally.
And she was right--I was magnificent.
Three years later I've traded her away,
not even traded--placed her on waivers.
Or was it she who sent me down? Errors
are part of the game, but there's no excuse
for inattention--that runner on first
just stole second on me, but I can walk
this batter, load the bases, and get set
for a double-play or force-out at home
plate. I can't afford to give a free pass,
however, let that man at third across
for free. But that's what I do, on four straight
pitches nowhere near the strike zone. My coach
trots out and asks me how I'm feeling. Go
after him, he
says. Got anything left?
Throw him a strike. Let him put it in play.
Okay. He gallops off. Again I set,
this time from the stretch so that man on third
won't get a head start on a suicide
squeeze. I put one down the middle and high.
Somewhere along the way, I lost my stuff
but I'm still good for a scratch start or two
or middle relief--I can't seem to start
or finish, though, but there's more to winning
than victory--I have to believe that.
The kid who knocked the Grand Salami's up
again, with the bases empty, two out,
and no expectations but to begin
a rally, that unlikely miracle
I'm living for. If it doesn't happen,
nobody complains, and if it does, love
was the cause, it gave the ball eyes, and luck
had nothing to do with it. He strikes out
and we're still men. And when we score we're worse.
Jenin, Zababdeh, Palestine