hat tip to Mark Zanger
“Yogi Berra was a great bad ball hitter; even if he had to golf or tomahawk, he was clutch.” The balls I hit are all bad that’s why I hit them. That’s where anger turns into beauty. They say there are no bad dogs but they are mostly dog trainers in their pride. Pride and shame are two ends of the same bat. Shame makes every bad ball your fault. That’s where Yogi comes in, the best Yankee philosopher since Emerson, the Buddha squatting behind every batter. He observes the violence of the perfect pitch, the smack in the deep pocket of his fat glove. Thanks to Yogi there are no bad restaurants, no bad decisions, no bad balls. When you come to a fork in the road, take it. Maybe a scratch single, a dribbler to the left, a ball just out of reach of a diving glove, Yogi motoring to first. He came back as a huge gentle black dog who takes the bite out of every bark. Soon all the neighbor dogs are following Yogi to the restaurant no one goes to anymore.
Copyright © 2018 Rodger Kamenetz. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2018.