I don't mind lying in Brookline
in the dark tonight, just
testing my mind's sight.
I don't mind lying sleepless
in this shrouded dark,
thinking of bygone days
along Van Cortlandt Park,
thinking back to whole Bronx
years just sitting on the rail,
in front of the playground,
our home, hangout, and jail,
returning to the P.S. 95 schoolyard,
my last stickball game,
playing with Hippo Newman
through the late afternoon rain,
with the scored tied in the ninth,
I homered over the roof
--my own incredible
Bobby Thompson moment of truth!
I tried to do it for years.
It came down to that last at bat.
Then I went off to college,
leaving stick, spauldeen, and hat.
Much has happened in
the forty-five years that have
passed. The war ended, I met Sandy,
and our two boys grew too fast.
Now the fields have long been
left behind. My knees are shot,
a torn tendon, bad back, a rotator
cuff problem–and what not.
My glory has become a shadowy fact,
doubted by my two sons,
who can't see their Dad playing,
game-faced, blazing both guns.
And when I tell the old Bronx
tale of hitting it over the roof,
they crack up laughing, saying,
"Oh, sure," demanding proof.
But to one aging schoolyard boy,
this memory's turned to gold,
a setting sun, an autumn day,
something gem-like I still hold.
And when life gets rough, leaving
me confused, without a clue,
I travel back to that last inning,
and just try to swing through.