Fenway Park (web photo courtesy of bostoncalendar)
by Chath pierSath
The batter spits.
Shoves his left foot against the diamond.
He makes eye contact with the pitcher.
He tilts down the right edge of his cap to buckle it tight to each strand of his hair.
It’s him against the other team—nine of them, all dressed the same,
With a different number, each bat a signature of each man’s worth,
Aiming for the same goal:
Play to win.
Business as usual,
Subliminal and routine,
CITGO and Dunkin Donuts,
Samuel Adams and Coca-Cola, and Bank of America and JetBlue.
Foxwoods, National Car Rental, and New Balance made-in-America shoes.
Dollars are taped to the store walls.
Democracy and free enterprise are fly balls, fouls, and strikes.
A face shot of a pitcher is paired with each batter on the screen.
Heroes, Red Sox-ers, Bostonians thirty-thousand plus, dots cheering in waves.
Flowers in brilliant colors sway to hovering light towers.
Prudential and joyous, prosperity and peace are familiar, comradery ways of life.
American God watches from above,
Catholic and Puritan,
New England and foreign.
Baseball superstition is spit and bubble gum.
The holy virgin birthed sons of baseball from Cuba
To the Dominican Republic island
As far east as the Japanese shore,
American-based game is worshipped
With ritualistic creed and fervor.
On a diamond-shaped infield,
Carpeted with grass,
The man at bat,
In well-fitted uniform,
Prepares for the pitcher’s bullet, ninety-plus-mile-per-hour speed.
More failures than there are hits.
Slow and patient, each batter meditated on the coming ball.
A home run gets fans up their feet, cheering for the star-spangled banner wave.
To be an American is to play baseball.
To be Bostonian is to be a Red Sox.
Each player a man of secrets and techniques, skills and talents, batting for the run,
Not out to war, but for money and fame.
One man would rise above the rest
And lead to record history
And bounty of heroic cheers and joy
Extending to little boys and girls
Singing Take me out to the ball game. Take me out to the park . . .
Fenway bathed in cream hues of gold, flashing red for the cheering crowd.
American-based is worth every hour.
(“American-Based” is from the poetry collection On Earth Under Sky by Chath pierSath forthcoming from Loom Press in Fall 2020)