Friday, February 3, 2012

Robinson Still Running


My friend insists Jackie Robinson was out.
Yes and No, I say, he’s running still
In fields of MLK’s dream
since that ’55 Series, not only toward, but from.

He is running from the strange fruit
of the noose, from white sheets
and the back of the bus, a unanimous
Supreme Court decision in his cleats.

He carries generations on his back.
His route is underground,
an up-hill ninety feet, swung low
to carry him home…. plate points north.

And there is Yogi, the philosopher, Berra,
of all people, who never said half of what he said.
If there’s a fork in the road, take it, because
nobody goes that way since it’s too crowded.

Yogi understands the every which way of life.
He lives in the in-between in a run-down
between safe and out and when he speaks
you listen hard and scratch your head.

Yogi knew and Jackie knew they would collide,
ball and cleats, cloud of dust, ump leaning,
cameras flashing and another fifty thousand
umps in the stands with perfect eyes.

Jackie had done it eighteen times before.
Not the fastest man coming down the line
but he could slide falling away and hook,
even late, he owned an inch of plate.

Yogi tore off his mask then stomped and swore
as if it really mattered. In ’54 the high court,
all nine umps, ruled him safe to integrate.
Jackie got a jump, already heading home.

Baseball is a gentleman’s game, they say,
watched by poets, followed for its geometry
and stats, seen by hayseeds and men in straw hats
with white shirts and skin to match.

Jackie Robinson dared them all, brought color,
moved it from the pasture to the hood.
He stole hearts, snapped chains, swiped white
bases and turned fans to see themselves.

1 comment:

  1. In 2002 Yogi said "He was out then and he's still out now." If you asked him today he would say "He's still out." i would say the same.

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