BURL, a poem

I HOWL'D. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

For Pat Burrell

(h/t Allen Ginsberg)

I

I saw the best bats of my generation destroyed by
     statheads, typing hysterical naked,
clicking themselves through the blogosphere at dawn
    looking for a breakfast link,
mollycoddled geek-nerds surfing through the modern Gore'd
     innertoobs to the info-silky beaches in the google-
     ry of night,
who connectivity and brains and hollow-eyed and drunk sat
     up drinking in the flat-screen glowing darkness of
     neglected cribs cutting and pasting the bits of articles
     contemplating stats,
who ignored their studies to pass the bar and
     saw utility-belt filled prospects running in minor-
     league obscurity unrecognized,

 who browsed through websites with unclosing bloodshot eyes
     hallucinating penguins and zoo-like outings
      among the bloggerz at war,
who were expelled from defunct sites for crazy &
     posting obscene .gifs on the browsers of the
    soul,
who logged on in maternal basements in underwear, burn-
     ing their Pop-Tarts in toasters and listening
     to Frank Zappa through ear buds,
who got busted with their trademarked beards selling t-shirts
     with players' names without approval of the office in New York,
who ate fiery crab fries and drank smuggled whiskey in
     Ashburn Alley, a Schmitter, or punished their
     digestion night after night
with Madson, with Lidge, with slumping nightmares, al-
    cohol and cock and endless balls
incomprehensible Chuck; screeds of skittering cloud 
   lighting in the mind zapping the light poles at
    Broad & Pattison, showering all the dim-
    ming field like in The Natural,
Prospectus subscriptions of thought, peripheral value over replacement
     contretemps lasting to dawn, flame wars in the game threads,
     beer drunkenness on the keypads, esc and shift+ctrl
     debuggeries through the boring winter hot stoves of Cast-
     ros, trashcan rantings on quad-A fillers of rosters,
who mistakenly took the local subway for the endless
     ride from Fern Rock to holy Pattison on benzos
     until the noise of wheels and drunkards brought
     them down vomiting dry-mouthed and
     outstrung of head all drained of people of color
     who got off three stops before the stop for the Game,
who ate all day on the orange plastic seats at Geno's
     floated on and off the squawky vomit-stank shuttle to desolate
     Chickie's & Pete's, listening to the endless loops
     of the Buffetted and Springsteened jukebox,
who talked continuously seventy hours from babe to
      Chicks to twitter to Fightins to Crashburn to the Zoo
      with Roy, 
vanished avatars of hyperlinked conversationalists swatting
     at the throats of the new bees who ventured onto fanshots
     on the Good Phight to no good end,
yacketayakking parroting vomiting counting stats
     and memories and anecdotes and naked pricks
     of players or managers and dugouts and fields,
partial intellects disgorged into Cyber Space leaving a
     trail of subpar commentary forever linked to the site,
who leaned themselves over the railings for the foul
    ball from the batter to the Holy Moly! was that
    one of the blog lords who caught that ball for his kid
    and brought it down one-handed while
    unspilling the helmet-filled sweetness 
    of the sprinkled cream of Ice, 
who clicked around and around at midnight in the
    fantasy league wondering who to pick up, and how,
    stashing them on the DL,
who thought they were only mad when Talking Chop
    gloated in premature ecstasy, 
who lounged hungry and lonesome when Houston
     kept beating and beating us, and sucking so
     bad, following Biggio and Pence  to converse
     about Ed Wade, a hopeless task, and the trade
     for Lidge, that horrid city,
who disappeared to write poetry about the bullpen or prospects
     leaving nothing but inscrutable links scattered about the site
who bit the fat-ass columnists in the neck with takedowns of delight
      in comment threads by parsing each half-formed thought
      and dissecting it to crumbly bits of e-mail and humiliation,
who howled on their knees in the bleachers and were
      dragged off the field waving genitals and middle-
      digits
who let themselves be fucked in the ass by the Cliff Lee 
    transactions, and screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim,
     SB Nation, caressers of NBC or Comcast
     love, 
who thought back in '07 they had a shot againist Colorado in myriad
     stolen wild-cards, H.K., secret hero of these
     poems, spokesman and Hermes of Denver joy
     to the memory of his innumerable calls of games
     in solitary cars & grungy garages, bedrooms'
     rickety springs, driving to mountaintops or shores or with
     gaunt barkeeps in familiar corner bars crackily watch-
    that-baby uplifitngs & especially secret work-sniping
    resentments of Wheels, & Ashburn eras too,
who made reference to a vast  sordid movies, were fielded in
     dreams, woke in a Clockwork Orange, and
     bastarded themselves out of baskets and Horrors of Apocalypse
     Now & stumbled over the Donnie-brooked Co-
     en brothers, weeping like some grandmothers,
who watched all night with their guts in a twist as
    TBS scheduled the World Fucking Champs onto the tube
     after 10 p.m. EST on a week full of sleep deprivation
     and caffeine,
who posted great homicidal thoughts toward the dandy poof in
    the orange suits conducting postgame interviews
    and creepy just-off-the dugout standups,
who watched as that team coughed up game four
    with rage under the flame-armed rainy sky surrounded
    by the self-righteousness of Yankee fan punks,
who danced in the klieg lights of the TV trucks looking for
    a date,
who jumped on the roofs of the taxis to show their ballot
     for Stupidity for all Time, & dressed like a drunken
     Mummer
to satisfy their sequin fetish and
     bask in all fifteen minutes of fame,
who journeyed to Denver, who won in Denver, who 
     came back in Denver & froze their bags of yams, who
     stole signs in Denver and finally went away to beat the
     Dodgers, & now Denver is lonesome for her losers,
who threw Cheez Wiz(TM)  at SABR lectures on SIERA
     and subsequently presented themselves on the
     blinking lights of the jammed-line madhouse with the dopey heads
     and majestic logicians of WIP, demanding in-
     stantaneous lobotomy,
and were given instead the time-slot void of Mike
     Missanelli electricity hydrotherapy psycho-
     therapy G-Cobb's website pingpong &
     amnesia
who in humorless protest called in one time to mention
    on-base percentage, first-time, long-time,
returning years later truly dumb except for a swig of
    beer, and tears and middle fingers, to the visible mad
    man of doom of the rooms of the lockers of the N.L.
    East,
Garden State's Diamond's and Keystone's foetid
    kings, bickering with the navels of the lint, rock-
    ing and rollikng in the midnight echo-chamber
    dullard realms of stats, pat answers of sport in cli-
   che, ears tuned to stone as heavy as the 
   Vet,
with Eskin finally ****ed, and the last fantastic dope
    insulted off the line as a moron and nincompoop, and the last
    receiver slammed down because you won't let me finish 
    you won't let me finish now did you hear me you're not
    listening would you shaddap and let me finish that's not what I
   said, nothing but a stupid little putz of
    elucidation
ah, Burl, while you are not a Phil I am not a Phil, where
     once you were really in the total animal soup of 
     fans
and who therefore ran through the Oct streets obsessed
    with a sudden need to tip over sidewalk trash cans
    and smash store windows & the park-
    ed cars,
who jumpt the fence and made wild loops in Time & Space
     through the outfield unopposed, and ignored the
     foul-mouthed rants of teh Wertz between 2 overweight cops
     and eluded their elemental control and paused the game
     and dash of intoxicatedness together evading
     until sensation of Taser Omnipotens Aeterna
     Deus, Bro

to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human
     prose and stand before you speechless and intel-
     ligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet con-
     fessing out to the lazy mainstream media to stop conforming to the rhythm
    of thought in this naked and endless thread,
about the madman bums who threw snowballs at Santa, unknown,
     yet recycled endlessly by morons not even born
     in 1968 and never realizing that the kid and the Eagles
     probably deserved it
not to be all blame-the-victim here but the weather sucked &
    Saint Nick was a last-minute fill in and was so crappy and
    miserable you would have booed too, we all would have, re
    gardless of whether we had paid actual money to get in
with the absolute heart of a fan of a team that butchered
    its sport to the tune of over ten thousand 
    losses.

 

II

What commentator of color and experience bashed open 
     their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
Morgan! Hustle! Grit! Grittiness! RBIs that net unob
     tainable dollars! Grown men screaming at their
     televisions! Dogs cowering in corners! Old men 
      dozing in wingbacks!
Morgan! Morgan! Nightmare of Morgan! Morgan the 
     brainless! Mental Morgan! Morgan the Hall of Fam’d veteran
     judger of men!
Morgan the incomprehensible person! Morgan the
      omnipresent colorful veteran and Analyst of
      color! Morgan whose anecdotes are judgment!
     Morgan the vast store of pat! Morgan who stun-
     -ned onlookers!
Morgan whose mind is red machinery! Morgan who
     somehow is making money! Morgan whose fingers
     have three rings! Morgan who boasts are a terri-
    -ble dynamo! Morgan whose thoughts are  a flaming
     pile!
Morgan whose eyes are a thousand blind windows!
     Morgan whose memories stand in the old
     photos like endless ESPN Classic! Morgan whose fac
     ts kind of wander and are a cloud of murky hydrogen!
    Morgan whose name is the Mud!
Morgan in whom I sit drunker! Morgan in whom I keep
     Drinking! Drunk on Morgan! Cocksucker is
     Morgan! Shit-faced and wasted in Morgan!
Morgan who entered my head early! Morgan of whom
    I actually saw play for the Phillies! Morgan
    who frightened me as a teen because the '83 club was so old!
    Morgan whom I abandon! Shut up, now, Morgan!
    Shit streaming out of my TV!
Morgan! Morgan! Robot acolytes! invisible tools!
    counting statistics! intangibles! unknown
    quantities! bleacher reports! invincible mad
    dynasties! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!
They broke our heads putting Morgan on TV! Cli-
    ches, stories, anecdotes, tons! cracking the skulls of 
   those of us who read Bill James and liked it!
Consistency! old school! hall of fame! desire! consistency! 
       hailed from the Big Red Machine!
Momentum! the right way! insights! hunches! signs! the whole
        boatload of Joe Morgan's bullshit!
Ecksteins! clubhouse! first-to-thirds! bunts and veterans!
      gone down to second! Manager! Runs! Steals! De-
      fense! New stats! Mad generation! over on
      the graphs of Fans!
Real holy laughter on the web! They see through him! his
     lack of preparation! the mocking posts!
     They give him the finger! the finger! waving!
     the middle one! Slapping their elbow! right at the
     tube!

III

Pat Burrell! I'm with you in San Fran
     where you're hotter than I am
I'm with you in San Fran
     where you must feel very strange
I'm with you in San Fran
     where you are sluggin' it like a motha'
I'm with you in San Fran
    where you've banged at least twelve secretaries
I'm with you in San Fran
     where you must laugh at our internet humor
I'm with you in San Fran
     where we are hot swingers in the same dreadful
     strip clubs
I'm with you in San Fran
     where your playing time has become regular and
     is reported on by Mitchie-Poo
I'm with you in San Fran
     where you drink the booze of the breasts of the
     housewives of Los Gatos
I'm with you in San Fran
     where you spurt on the bodies of some nurses the
     Yankees of the Bronx
I'm with you in San Fran
     where you scream in a straitjacket that you're
     losing the game of the actual baseball of the
     abyss
I'm with you in San Fran
     where you score off the catatonic LOOGY the ball
     is outside and a bit low it should never be swung at
     in the low outside dirt
I'm with you in San Fran
     where fifty more walks will never return your
     OBP to its zenith again from its pilgrimage to a
     nadir with the Rays
I'm with you in San Fran
      where you accuse your critics of insanity and
      plot the National League's revolution against the
     fascist american league Gotham City
I'm with you in San Fran
     where you will split the thighs of South Philly
     and resurrect your throbbing man-Patrick from the
     superhuman tomb
I'm with you in San Fran
     where there are forty-five thousand fan shir-
     seys all together singing the first few stanzas of High Hopes
I'm with you in San Fran
     where we hug and kiss the Jock-Sniff'd Chix under
     our bedsheets the Jock-Sniff'd Chicks who ball all
     night and won't let us sleep
I'm with you in San Fran
     where we wake up electrified out of the coma
     in our private jet airplanes roaring over the
     roof at Shea they've come to hit majestic bombs the
     ballpark illuminates itself imaginary outfield fences creep
     toward home O rookie minions run home O starry
     spangled jock of mercy the eternal game is
     here O victory OMG I forgot my underwear we're
     free
I'm with you in San Fran
     in my dreams you ride smiling in your dog-
     parade down the Broad Street across Philadelphia with beers
     to the core of my being on a baseball night 

***

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