“Glad to Be Alive”

For Francis on his 60th


Who is Roy Campanella to you?

In Carnarsie, did you grow to love

His square frame,

His cannon arm?

 

To me in Virginia he was

A distant part

Of the real world

Where champions were possible.

 

Just over the river, the Senators

Played bad ball

With nothing

But Killebrew

 

In Brooklyn you could choose

To be loyal or not to bums

Or giants, the temptation of Victories just across another river.

 

Were you listening still

When, coming home from locking

His Harlem liquor store,

He missed a turn and wrecked?

 

He joined my father then

Suddenly in broken greatness,

Sharing the stupidity

Of spinal interruption.

 

We all moved.

You away,

Roy To L.A., Glad to be Alive

I to Boston, just in time for

New dreams.

 

So why ask? More likely

You followed Mays or Mantle. Too many

Other loyalties have intervened

For it to matter much.

 

But, imagine, Francis!

Imagine that a square brown man

I have never asked you about.

Could, hold us

In time, hold us in love.