April 25, 2018
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By Michael Campagnoli, Special to the BDN

We’d go to Roosevelt Park
It was good there, on real grass, a real diamond,
With bases and a backstop.  And the sun would beat down
And bake our bodies and DJ would say, “It’s not the heat,
But the hoo-midity.”  All day we’d play, five or six on a side,
No hitting to right field.  We’d lose ourselves
In the rhythm, the grace, the sweat of the game.
It was good.  Only the clear blue sky, the sun-parched air,
The cushioned, resilient earth, the pure, clean crack of the bat,
The solid feel of the ball on wood, and the ball in flight. 
It was the leap and stretch, the bounce and roll.  All within time. 
Perfect.  Within time.  Not behind, nor before it. 
But within time, itself – unselfconscious, uninhibited –
Body and muscle and mind pushing against the ache of the ground,
The sky, the wind, against gravity itself.  Taking the measure of it all
And meeting that measure.

On the way home, we’d stop at Carvel’s.  Ice-cold orange sodas
In long-necked bottles.  It could not be better: the near-frozen Nehi
beaded with sweat.  Precious.  Money for just one apiece.  Frozen nectar
Sucked through narrow necks, on swollen tongues and dust-scorched palates. 
And when it was done, there was the clean, good fatigue that comes
from driving yourself to the limit and beyond out in the fresh, open air. 
And it was good.

Michael Campagnoli lives in Rockland. His recent collection of poetry, “Penobscot Voices: Kikukus,” is available from Amsterdam Press at www.etsy.com/shop/amsterdampress.


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