Today's poem is by Bruce Cohen

Dead Telegram to a Dead Poet
          for Jon "Spot" Anderson

Dear Spot. Stop. An off-the-cuff off-duty reality check: you're not sleeping it off now
Or ever again—you're slumming in a permanent recycled night crawler cafeteria. Stop.
This is Skate, your old pal, transmitting from this sad & often difficult planet

Earth—early in the baseball season when games are postponed for snow squalls
& must be rescheduled as midweek twin bills during the dog days. You'd think
They'd smarten up & play opening week in warm-weather venues. It's still the same:

Man's Pavlov-insane. I miss you. You'd be happy to know the Sioux City Slugs,
Our fantasy ghost-league rotisserie team, still exists, but as usual, in accordance
With your legacy, I drafted a conglomeration of Latino players with visa issues,

DUI-convicted wife-beater farm boys who barely earned high-school diplomas, shaky guys
Just out of rehab, roid-rage lunatics suspended for twenty-one days after flunking banned
Human hormone tests, unheralded rookies, graybeards on their last hurrah, & the usual

Bums. Why us? It always happens to us. Maybe we bring bad omens on ourselves—
Maybe God manufactures voodoo dolls for all of us. Did I mention I miss our 5:00 AM
Phone calls when I was crusty eyed & you were about to pass out on the other side

Of the country, alone in the desert? Remember when we drafted Dave Dravecky
Because we thought his name euphonious Russian vodka; he developed a cancerous
Knob in his pitching arm. Who ever heard of that? He recovered, so to speak—tumor

Removed, but his arm grew so weak one game he threw a slider & it literally snapped.
The whole stadium heard the horrible crack; they showed the highlight all night
On SportsCenter; his career kaput; even hot-dog vendors winced & rubbernecked.

Later, his arm had to be amputated. Just our luck, you said—a pitcher with no arm.
Now that you're on indefinite hiatus, TV screen black, I pray you channel your mojo
Into my poems. Stop—& maybe Dravecky can learn to throw with his remaining arm?

Copyright © 2010 Bruce Cohen All rights reserved
from the Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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