‘nother beer here


his first reading word
loud, distinct,
learned from seeing
Iron City billboards
everywhere in Pittsburgh…
his proud family
steel mill generations
with beer bellies…
men and women,
hang out on stoops
with Pirates’ baseball
on plugged in radios
and never miss a score
on those hilly streets

until the layoffs
and empty family porches
and women hiding bruises
from sour smelling men
who slept late restless
swearing in their dreams
at hellish glowing rivers
and masters of the universe
who built skyscrapers
poured from pig iron
fed by “coke monkeys”
into fiery crucibles

now he slurs it
beer…’nother beer here
in a slag heap sports bar
strange neighborhood
where Pirates’ hits,
runs and errors…
and men left on base
blur to meaningless

Bonnie Marshall

Artist: Edouard Manet


Lost and Won

A Little League baseball player squares around...

Lost and Won

Close calls. Errors.
So they lost the game.
Brave smiles. Hand bumps.
“Good game,” down the line.

Parents know the drill.
“Get ’em next time, Tiger.”
“So, are you hungry?”
“That play at third was close.”

Coaches know the odds.
“We need taller pitchers.”
“Not bad for ten-year olds.”
“Fifth inning was a killer.”
“God, those kids have heart.”

Yet, they played more than baseball…
they played timidity and risk
indifference and commitment,
and cowardice and courage.

Kids…parents…coaches… knew
there was an incremental lost and won
that wasn’t on the scoreboard.

Bonnie Marshall