Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Death of Phil Rizzuto

August 14, 2007

I was about 9 years old when my grandfather gave me a baseball signed by Phil Rizzuto, some old guy who I hadn’t really heard of. Gramps had met “Scooter” at a charity golf tournament and, jokingly, asked him to sign a baseball for his grandfather. I guess he was looking for a laugh, but apparently Rizzuto didn’t get it, and just asked, “Sure thing! What’s your grandfather’s name?” Joke having sailed way over Scooter’s head, my 65 year-old Gramps dutifully responded, “Nick,” and so I got my ball.


I’d come to learn that this wasn’t Rizzuto’s only oblivious moment. During his Hall of Fame induction speech, he mentioned that he thought New Guinea was full of Italians. When keeping score during games, he coined the notation “WW” for plays where he wasn’t watching. Scooter’s scorecards must have been brimming with WWs, because some guys were able to make a poetry collection out of all his in-game musings. A few examples:

Two balls and a strike. You know what they had on TV today, White? “Bridge on the River Kwai.” Everybody should have gotten an Academy Award for that movie. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it. About forty times. Alec Guinness! William Holden! Three and one the count. I just heard somebody whistle. You know that song? That’s what they whistle. Nobody out. And he pops it up.


The legs are so important.
In golf, they’re very,
People don’t realize
How important legs are in golf,
Or in baseball,
And football, definitely.
O, in track.
Is there anything, what?
Is there anything where the legs
Are not the most important?

This guy was like Yogi Berra, minus the hidden insight. And like Berra, he’ll probably be remembered not for his on-field brilliance but for his off-the-field quirkiness. Not that I have a problem with that — it probably makes my ball more valuable. I’m accepting offers now at


Poem by Isuba Nikora

August 7, 2007

My Japanese poet friend has been working on her first poems in English, and asked me to post this one. Her name is Isuba Nikora, she’s pretty well-established in her home city of Kagoshima, which she says is the inspiration for all her work.


what has she?
height, iran, oreo, coach, a knee.
two (oh you will be) (oh he she me)
green, oh touchy bone, a trunkless ashy.

so rare, I know, cheek, a coo day,
fun, sigh sorry, to visage
no use or she soon you carry dome,
or son,
a coat soon a hand boon
she calm me me, she wallow
say, rarely talk:

what has she, no name?
has ozymandias oh no oh day I rue:
me decide what has she
knows she go to,
cue die
not yet
oh you be set soon bony!

zen boots or no,
got one, no not any more.

no foe, show note:
I’m don’t coming back
erasure base
we hate nothing, have took only nobody.

Steam Pipe Explosion in Manhattan

July 18, 2007

Steam Pipe Explosion NYC

If you haven’t heard, a steam pipe exploded in Midtown Manhattan. My poet friend Steve Barret dropped me this poem before I even knew about it. Steve has a collection of vegetarian poetry coming out called the “i”: more than meats. The New York Times calls it “touchingly honest and deliciously clumsy.”

today was a lil 9/11
a lil baby 9/11
who vomits soot on your shirt
which sucks, but no one gets hurt
(or at least no one gets hurt that badly.
i believe some elderly people might have tripped and died during the panic,

today was a “remember 9/11”
“was it only 6 years ago 9/11”
where people roam the streets
in a kind of hazy solidarity
chatting to strangers about
who they knew on the plane (“my sister’s friend tracy”)
where they were when it happened (“macy’s”)
how they were so close
they could see
the victims’

(it’s really a fascinating bond, this
nostalgic memory, so morbidly fond)

today was not 9/11
so i never panicked.
“explosion” “transformer” “grand central”:
even as i heard bits of what people were saying,
i thought “this must be some kind of sick
michael bay
viral ad campaign.”

today was not 9/11
so even as the smoke towered 40 stories high
i thought “the yankees could pull within 7”
and “i want to check out that simpsons 7/11
at times square.”
not about corpses with dust in their hair.

Untitled work by Il Renaud

July 14, 2007

I’ve been rummaging through my old poetry collection and I found this gem. Written by a French poet named Il Renaud, it’s translated by one Stephen Bouille. I can’t find much information about Renaud, which is a shame since I’ve picked up some French and I’d love to see the original. -Cory

I mounted the extremities of glaciers the stranger,
a mountain of joyous meows, a produced force, a corrupt extremity,
not defeated by the excursion that I my valor whatever poached.

The vertigo of dozens of 0,
mine of millions, I,
a thousand tender fours.

Pyres of O, advantaged against my destinies.
The altitude of O was illuminated,
the lute of a planet, violet, yours,
attentive of your visage for luminance.
Inflammable commentary for the travail of a woman!
Naturally the destinies I suffered, of your mauve –
maintained, illuminated, by gold.

Wolfdays of O! Vainly you return:
Sad plains of O, cerebral desires of O, sad limits of O,
discouragement pains of the OH.

O beautiful your bruins,
oh so often I considered your destinies,
the chaste enjambment of charred restaurants,
of the OH’s alarm,
my sea of I, prolonged,
OH! – I signed by man six sovereign flanks.