by Michael C Ford
for/ Harry E. Northup
who/s seen more Dodger games in Brooklyn & LA
than anyone could possibly imagine
I genuflect in front of soft altars supporting the innocence & optimism of those Brooklyn days, somehow turning, with the turning of the years, into the hard cold control of corporate monopoly & our only rebellion is a memory of Bronx cheers spouted into the Summertime fidelity for the American sport of baseball.
I genuflect in front of the time when trolleycars rattled down roads in Brooklyn & the hometown team was called the Trolley Dodgers.
I genuflect in front of the Red Car shuttled along a network of LA innercity streets taking us to where we could still be enamored by ecstatic round-trippers by Steve Bilko.
I genuflect in front of Pacific Electric roads being paved over to pave the way for major league ball to go West, because streetcar transit was cutting into General Motors & Goodyear Tires & Standard Oil annuities: so they ripped the rails outa Los Angeles the same way they ripped the trolleycar tracks outa Brooklyn: the same way they ripped the struts supporting that wooden Cathedral ballpark & there are those who still pray to the ghosts of Ebbets Field.
I genuflect in front of the memory of a choir-loft grandstand, where the hullabaloo belle of the bleachers Hilda Chester would reside: her cowbell constantly clanging in Van Gogh’s other ear.
I genuflect in front of the sacristy of the bull pen progeny of Preacher Roe, Carl Erskine, Clem Labine, Larry Sherry, Tommy John, Johnny Podres, Koufax, Drysdale, Hershiser, Ron Perranoski, Don Newcombe: even the fated Ralph Branca.
I genuflect in front of the continuity of iconic follow-through swings by Dixie Walker, Frenchy Bordagaray, Furillo, Snider, Campanella, Johnny Roseboro, Gene Hermanski, Pete Reiser, Pee Wee Reese, George “Shotgun” Shuba, Lou Johnson, Pedro Guerrero, Kirk Gibson & Wally Moon.
I genuflect in front of the 1955 World Series: Jackie Robinson robbing home plate signifying yet another reminder that Branch Rickey broke-up the doubleplays of intolerant repression.
I genuflect in front of the aggressive wreckingball that battered into Chavez Ravine while we witnessed thru smog eyes the construction of Dodger Stadium like a bullring corrida against the old days, against the gold days: the civil wars between expendable Chicanos & real estate profiteering: exactly the same way endless political controversy batters apart what’s left of our disabled Democracy.
I genuflect in front of Walter O’Malley’s liferaft floating farther & farther away from the sinking boat of Bum’s Paradise & shipwrecking on the jagged reefs of expansion team conspiracy.
I genuflect in front of this Pastoral game played in the middle of a malaise of urban congestion: the Bum saints of Flatbush arrive in LA to be compromised by Ivy League nerds with their trades, their trade-offs, Free Agentry & organized disloyalties.
I genuflect in front of these murderous intrusions into a circumference of terrorized nations that revere declarations of patriotic revenge: that no matter where your political loyalties lie, since the Dodgers moved to LA, there/s been a lotta rough stuff goin’ on: not that our existing executive wing of the government hasn/t been any more morally responsible than any other during the last 47 years: I mean, think about it for a minute!
I genuflect in front of the knowledge that Shakespeare would never have hung-up his spikes, if he knew, now, how much we needed a redeeming rhymed couplet. If Willie S could lather up his glove & come back to write a final play to turn us away from our terrors, I/m sure he would set it in Flatbush & it would probably be called: A TRAGEDY OF ERRORS.
Copyright brain picnic, 2004