OK Chris; Soccer Field, Ward’s Island; Bad Boy

OK Chris

Photo courtesy of Erin Ryan (flickr.com).

OK Chris. Go out and hit the ball
like you did in practice yesterday,
step into it and drive it off the wall
in center field, just swing away
and put it out there in the gap in left,
and watch out for the hanging curve.  If you
can see it coming in, just wait for it
to break, then knock the sucker black and blue.
Get under it, and it’s as good as gone.
If you can get to second, go in hard
and try to wreck the throw that’s coming in.
Let the shortstop know that life is hard.
Just listen for my voice out there and know
I’m with you, I’ll tell you when to go.

 


 

 

 

Soccer Field, Ward’s Island

Photo courtesy of thebuffafamily (flickr.com).

You don’t care about the cold,
and you don’t care about the wind
coming off Hell Gate since dawn
that has kept even the gulls away,
and you don’t care that you have to play
on a field again that’s hard
and unlovely and unforgiving
(but fair, too, in its gravel and glass).
This is what it is to fight
not far from a House for the Mad
under the Triboro Bridge, on a pitch
where big kids from Pelham come
to bring you down, but you beat them
in the dirt here, in the cold.


Bad Boy

Photo courtesy of denmar (flickr.com).

It’s good to see that you know how
to shoot up cans with a BB gun
and zero in on Army men,
letting fly with dirt bombs
that explode across the compost heap
in the greatest bombardment known to man.
You can whip a jack knife at a board
hard enough to make it stick
and have studied the ancient art
of bottle rockets, shooting a few
at the neighbor’s son to see
if you could make him run away.
(He did, but he was clearly thrilled
and left himself available
for more. The father was appalled.)
Cherry bombs have made their way
into the dark curriculum,
the holy joy of blowing apart
hollow, plastic astronauts
behind a dumpster in the lot,
and you know a bit about M-80s
going off in garbage cans.
Maturity will come, but not
so much, I hope, that you’ll forget
the wicked ecstasy of playing
tackle football on a putting green.
It bucks the man up, sometimes,
to poke a hornets’ nest, and run.


John Foy’s first book of poetry is “Techne’s Clearinghouse” (Zoo Press, 2004). His work is featured in the “Swallow Anthology of New American Poets” (Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 2009) and has appeared in many magazines and journals, including “Parnassus,” “The Raintown Review,” “The New Criterion,” “The Nebraska Review,” “Cimarron Review,” “Poetry,” and “The New Yorker,” and online at “Poetry Daily” and www.linebreak.org. Formerly of Bear Stearns, he now works as a senior financial editor at Itaú Securities. John lives in New York with his wife, son, daughter, and a dog. His second book is completed, and he is seeking a publisher.

Read an awesome interview with John about writing, working, and MFAing, and at The Nervous Breakdown.

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