Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Sacrifice of Eurydice at Yankee Stadium

The word “yankee” has been variously (and mostly derogatorily) used to signify “New Englander,” “northerner” or “American,” but it was coined by the early Dutch settlers in the Hudson River Valley to describe the more recent, less sophisticated English settlers.  Literally translated as “young Johnny,” the word’s connotation would in modern terms be roughly equivalent to “stupid white men.”

Dem Ehwz are behind 1-1 in the eighth. I sense a scab beginning to open. Home run by Frodo, er, Flaherty! It’s quiet as a movie theater except for the deafening leer of self-satisfied smirks. The requisite fat one-batter lefty comes in thanks to Tony LaRussa to squander a half-hour I will never get back, and then Hieronomyous Bosch, er Rafael Soriano, a grotesque assault on nature itself, er, a live arm, comes in, flapper like a frying pan attached to an obese turtle with an alarm clock for a head and a smile like the WB cartoon chicken hawk. Cal talks about the etiquette of taking. The widow has taken out her hair net. Manny Machado, the hardest working insurance salesman in this godforsaken town down the river, hits a home run to take the lead! No rip in the fabric, no groan, not even chattering teeth, as the fans en masse act like the game, the opponent, is barely worth their interest, so if they lose they can say “What game? Did you catch the debate?” but if they win you will be barraged with an unbearable and maddening cavalcade of hyperbolic hysteria and jingoistic jargon like no immortal‘s ever seen – until you finally cry uncle and admit your existence was never a threat to anybody. The noble birds try to tighten the stringent strings in a stringendo death movement, but the Big Apple Store sells it is what it is at the end of the day, and the side falls harmlessly to the ground like so many golden shells. Gonzalez is still licking the corner like a coroner, though, still splitting the straws that break the camelhair through the eye of the needle. Derek Jeter, obviously high on HGH, lets a smile pass his face as he condescends to react to the umpire’s call. ARod the useless superstar, the Sad Black Man seeking Stupid White Man for bondage and humiliation, is smoked by a 20 mph change-up. The wind pulls robins in. Jones blows a Topps bubble while chasing down a fly. The home weather advantage of the corrupt Bronx wind witches the ball out of his range. Television replays show routine fly ball after routine fly ball carried to the stands from the aforementioned home weather advantage. Does Ek Khan the Mayan wind God deliver to the Bronx? Can we call in a favor? Huitres the catcher, whose name means “oyster” in French, “raw oysters topped with lemon juice, hot sauce and saltine crackers at Lexington Market” in Baltimorese, picks one from the oyster bar to shuck to left – broken bat single, a bat shard hits the pitcher in the ass; he grabs his nuts as a conference of the stupes consult like pediatricians, then an elderly gentleman runs his fingers down the smooth pinstripe material before deciding he must be relieved. This seems to unglue the Stupid White Men, the indignity of it all. Nothing the Stupid White Men do is ever entirely honest – nothing – it would be laughably absurd if it wasn’t so shockingly appalling – it’s all so rotten to the apple core. The new pitcher thinks of running a spike through his mother as he uncorks a deadly screwball. As usual the Stupid White Man 3rd baseman has to fight with a fan for a ball that is neither fair nor foul. The wicked wind formed from the hot air of Stupid White Men facing down the cold hard truth starts brewing in the cauldron, and the next SWM batter finds his ball taken into the stands to seal the game for extra innings. Fans are standing like smirking turkeys, like cackling overfed vultures. I never thought I’d miss the tomahawk chop. Game stops for litter on the field. It was so much better to ignore the Stupid White Men and be thought a madman than to pay attention to them and remove all doubt.  As the orange and black winds of redemptive wisdom come in I see the Orioles as reforming pilgrims finding themselves in New Amsterdam gazing at all the abominations of Mammon amidst the old faith, then being lured into a “baseball” game where the real plan is to dispossess us of our very souls. The Tigers meanwhile are getting rested and ready to feast as they play. The requisite ex-Mariner sub-mariner in October relieves Gonzo and his jaw-dropping assortment of sinkers to throw upside down flying saucer sliders. He stamps his feet like a chicken, pitches like a beige praying mantis on speed, skims the arc of a sparrow. Can’t turn a double play because of the aforementioned home weather advantage! Oh to have them at George Herman Ruth Memorial Stadium for Game 5! We suffer because we can’t get with the program of ruthless domination based on materialistic soul-taking. We’re too soft-hearted. Some hail mary’s, reverse jinxology, and obscure incantations from the Popul Vul. Someday there will be other games and they will matter too in their own way … hard to imagine now. The owl has landed. Game over because gruesomely humorless SWM manager mourning father takes out useless superstar in 9th for a pinch hitter who ties and later wins the game – it must go in some kind of management annals of the dark arts, goat-eyed managerial sorcery of the foulest and most depraved kind. It’s Red Harvest for the Maltese Vulture. A Bobby Valentine’s Day Massacre in the House That Ruthless Built. The mighty Negro League technicolor pharaoh has struck out. And when it happened, nobody in the Italian restaurant much bothered to look up from their plate, no round of applause or even the momentary wiping off of wifely frowns. No burning up the town or tearing down the rafters in irresponsibly joyful jubilee here, just the smuggest of smirks for the briefest of seconds. No nod to the bird kings, fallen like Icarus and playing for free. Oh the milk! (Orson Welles as Colonel Kurtz). Sad Polo Grounds of Divorce! Ragtime jingles from black sox park as the winds blow in like a bastard and the ghosts of October stake the heart of John McGraw twirling his mustache in his grave, but the Babe lets the moon shine equally on johnnys and junebirds, filthy lucre watchchains and indentured irredentists, new York minute rice and oystercrab sandwiches, the Met and the Walters Art Gallery, Mannahatta for some mardi gras beads and Fort McHenry with a wind from the Keys, Miss Parker and friends at the Algonquin Club and friendless Mencken at the Peabody Beer Stube, oysters rockerfella and crab Rangoon, a slice of greasy pizza with mshugina on the side and gwumpkies and kielbasa at the greasy spoon, the lady in the harbor and the widow on her walk, the Blue Note and Hammerjacks, Bobby Van’s and Haussners, the gaping hole that even complete domination can’t fill and the empty cackle filled with crabs, natty bohs and copious bonghits of shame. All’s fair in pyramid schemes, virtual night baseball and dreams. The streets will be running cartoon-red tomorrow as the vultures feed lasciviously on the entrails of Prometheus – you’ll need a mask to stay safe from the reek. It’s October Jake, fahhgettabutit.  All the perfumes of Araby will not sweeten this little hand. Stupid White Men win again.

1 comment:

Jack said...

I am not embarrassed to say I had to use Google for many references here. For that education alone, this was enjoyable. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen such a combo of erudition and slapstick in a poem before.

Also, great rhymes and euphony throughout.