NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 9)

Day 9 prompt: write a concrete poem wherein the lines and words are organized into a shape that reflects the theme of the poem. Old, beat up baseballs, covered in electrical tape, were not always spherical either. This must be viewed on the site. Email will not provide the shape.


***

Sandlot baseball,
stickball, wiffleball, were all
for me, when I was a cantankerous lad
of some age without a uniform or cap, and maybe
a black taped ball in hand, air, or a grounder to bounce
just right to smack my face, but no such fear did I ever show,
even though I had bouncing grounders or fliers catch me taking
a peek to home or second, at the runner, and not a catch would I
make, or when batting rocket arm riley wound up to heave a bean
ball shot at me wearing no sissy hard hat or gloves or pads, just me
in the sun on a warm summer day doing things with balls or games,
like burn-out, whatever cleat-less shoes we had worked and we had
no managers, couches, parents, or girlfriends to bother with us. An
old dog chased our ball, swiping it, tearing the tape, and left us to
scavenge for a new old beat-up ball. The dog would not give
ours back. We could not catch one old dog. I recall many
memories of taped balls and bats and days when we
would just play the day away with whatever we
had. That left us with only memories of balls,
old dogs, and names of many games
we played in those dirty
old sandlots.

***


Look both ways, but do not take your eye off the ball.
Mind the gaps but take the longest lead you can safely manage.

It’s Magic

Magic2

I like the word magic. I like magical things. I like to use it to explain things I don’t understand. I like to say it – magic. I enjoy the way it sounds and how it feels when I say it. I like words ending with the hard K sound. Duck, truck, shmuck, fu**…; you get the idea. Back in the day, when something was unexplainable, we used to say it was PFM (pure fu**ing magic). I still use that initialism.

Magic1While I may not believe that supernatural beings exist (okay, maybe some duende), I still like to refer to unexplainable, cool happenings as magic. I try not to use the words miracle or miraculous in a serious sense. But magical works for me. If others want to use words like miracle to describe things, I have no issue with that. If the Pope wants to use it’s magic to explain anything, who am I to object?

Rally cap (inside out, upside down)
Rally cap (inside out, upside down)

I avoid serious superstition, but I’m not opposed to having fun with it. I’m a baseball fan. Consequently, I also enjoy words like jinx, luck (bad or good), the rally cap behavior, and the movie Field of Dreams is a favorite.

The Hail Mary pass by Roger the Dodger.
The Hail Mary pass by Roger the Dodger.

And has not American football brought new meaning to the Hail Mary? A heavenly pass to win the game (apparently attributable to the mother of Jesus) – thus, a miraculous win. It could have just been a PFM pass. But no. We had to bring somebody’s mom into it.

One definition of magic is the use of things to exploit supernatural forces in the universe with the power to influence earthly events.

Our belief in magic has been around since the earliest humans. It continues to have important spiritual, religious, and medicinal purposes.

Magic can also be used to mean wonderful or exciting, which is my preferred usage.

Magic3The origin of the word, or the concept of magic, seems to be rooted in the religions of ancient times.

Witches allegedly performed magic, and we know how that worked out for many of them in years past. I am no more opposed to witchcraft than I am to magic tricks – just saying. I don’t need wiccans raining fire down on me.

All of that definition and historical stuff is too much for my contemporary old brain. We change the definitions and uses of words all the time. When I say magic, I don’t mean any of that religious stuff, nor do I think it is spiritual (okay, maybe just a nudge, for fun). It’s just my way of saying that “I don’t know why. It just is.”

I’ve written about the magic of art, the magic of relationships, the magical beauty of nature, the magical feelings we have, and many other uses of the word. I must like it. And regardless of anyone else’s religious, spiritual, or superstitious beliefs; I can use the word magic as much as I want. Right?

Penn Jillette
Penn Jillette

I like musicians and magicians. I’m not sure which one I enjoy more, but watching magic is more interesting whereas music is more about how I feel. I may need music, maybe not so much magic. I enjoy the same song many more times than I would the same magic trick.

I don’t think I can name a magician who believes that his or her magic has a religious basis. There may be some, but I am not talking about shamanism. I know of one magician who is also, conveniently, a musician. But he would deny any spiritual connection to his performances.

Penn Jillette is an entertainer. He is a magician, musician, juggler, comedian, actor, and a best-selling author. He is also an atheist. Penn detests any misleading deception regarding the essence of his magic. He clearly states that what he does are essentially tricks to fool people. He is known for openly divulging how entertainer magicians do their tricks.

Here is clip of Penn and Teller magic.

May the magic in life produce wonder, awe, and gratitude in your heart. May you find your own personal brand of magic in people, nature, art, music, and love. Then you can spread your joyful fairy dust around the world to magically make it a better place for all.

Click here to watch Pilot perform It’s Magic. Lordy, those boys were young. Since this is no wonder of lyrical magic, no need to watch it all to get the point.

Finally, a little Doris Day magic for you—just click here.