Ed,

I was thinking about you the other day
when I left my acting class
(I’m still working on my play Fences,
building my character Troy Maxon).
Anyway I was thinking about you and baseball.
My father loved it as do you.
So as part of my work on Maxon
I signed up for MLB TV this week.
My father would come home from the steel mill
and stretch out across his bed in the evening
his radio turned to a game.
I was watching the Cardinals and Mets
the other day, moving around between my work table
and the kitchen, watching and listening and
remembering how things were. It’s funny, too,
reading about how August Wilson
moved away from Pittsburgh and
the world of his plays began to speak to him.
I feel that way about Baltimore now.

I feel good about City of Eternal Spring
and it’s coming along, It’s leading me back
to what I know of Baltimore and being in that life
in the factory, using the past and treasuring it
rather than trying to forget it or live in it.

Yesterday the announcer in one game said
pitchers don’t try to deceive anymore. Now
it’s all about speed. . . I suppose rhythm too.
That says a lot about our world, I guess.

* * * * * *

Hi Mike–

Amazing coincidence: I’m at Bennington now
and decided yesterday that I want to hear
Pirate games, so I signed up for MLB audio.
It’s true what you say about speed–but some
pitchers still know how to deceive.
Our closer, Grilli, is a guy with a good fastball
who also can mix it up.
Your father knew about curves and sliders.
I’ve said it before that speed is
something I like in poetry–not just
speed for its own sake, speed to get
to the heart of things and not just fuck around,

Speaking of curveballs: in her new book
Daisy Fried has a speaker with an advice column
called “Ask the Poetess” who refers to all poets
as “poetesses” and observes that one of the great
recent poetesses is Charles Bukowski.

I’m just reading Don Hall’s The Back Chamber.
Among other things: lots of baseball in it,
including a really good poem called “Meatloaf.”

You’d love it, I think, and so would your father.
Old Baltimore. Old Pittsburgh. Old New York.
Time turns pain to silver, garbage to gold.

Ed Ochester

ED OCHESTER's new book, Sugar Run Road, will be published early in 2015 by Autumn House Press. He is the editor of the Pitt Poetry Series and is a member of the core faculty of the Bennington MFA Writing Seminars. Recent poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Agni, Boulevard, Nerve Cowboy, Gettysburg Review and other magazines. Poems of his were selected for Best American Poetry 2007 and 2013.

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