School is out.
I walk up the street.
I’ll enter the drugstore,
Ready to read comic books until chased away.
The druggist will tell my father that I’ve
Been reading comics again – and not paying.
But years later my father –
Anxious to see baseball scores –
Would open newsstand papers at 4 a.m., and then hear,
“You cheap bastard. What a lesson to teach your kid.”
We’d leave the paper stand, get in our truck and drive away.
Before the drugstore,
Before the comics,
Before the ice cream I’d buy –
Hoping to distract the druggist –
I’d stop at a bar.
The bar door open,
It is Spring.
Smoke covers the gap.
Sour beer and whiskey in the blend.
The Yankees and Tigers are on the black and white TV.
The Yankees, home, in white,
The Tigers, visitors, in gray.
I see a dark-dressed umpire behind a gray catcher,
A gray pitcher in front,
Must be Yankees – man in white – at bat,
Day games then, maybe two night games a week ….
I step through the smoke, beer, whiskey,
Slip on sawdust on the wooden floor,
And am deeper in the bar,
Three men to my left on stools,
Not watching the Yankees and Tigers.
Then, a voice,
“Get the hell out of here, kid!
I’ve told you that for weeks now!
Get the hell out!”
I leave, the ice cream, comics if lucky, await.
Who won that 1947 afternoon game?
Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, mid-November 2012