Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Days: Baseball poems by Chip Dameron

Relay Man 
              Somebody drives
the ball through the gap in left
center, and the shortstop drifts
beyond the infield’s arc, waiting
for the left or center fielder
to run the ball down and fling it
toward him.
                      On the fly or off
a hop, no matter, the thing’s
to time the swing back home,
turning and whipping a hard
overhand to the plate, where
the runner from first cannot slide
out of his pending doom, ball
buried in a leather web, ending
the inning.
                      At short you live
to make the pivot, you trust
your arm to get it right, this
humming toward home, and lordy
do you let it fly.

Game Catch

          The closest thing
to a lie is a moment’s
deepest yes: the perfect
dive for a ball off a bat,
the gloved and echoed sting
verifying every hidden wish,
the shift and fling as true
as summer.
                       The hum we hear
is just the buzzing of the day’s
doings, wind across an infield,
electric lights that click on
and carve out a lifetime,
where line drives up the alleys
can tear holes in the air
that can’t be fixed.

 Chip Dameron is the author of a travel book and seven collections of poetry, including two published in 2015: Waiting for an Etcher (Lamar University Press) and Drinking from the River: New and Selected Poems, 1975-2015 (Wings Press). His poems and essays on contemporary writers have appeared in the Mississippi Review, Southwestern American Literature, San Pedro River Review, Puerto del Sol, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New Orleans Review, New Texas, and many other journals and anthologies, as well as publications in Canada, Ireland, Nigeria, India, China, Thailand, and New Zealand. Dameron has co-edited two literary magazines, Thicket and Chachalaca Poetry Review, and served on the editorial board of four others. A two-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize in poetry, a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, and Professor Emeritus at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, he lives and writes in Brownsville, Texas.