Saturday, May 08, 2004

Poem for Saturday

The Dancing
By Gerald Stern

In all these rotten shops, in all this broken furniture
and wrinkled ties and baseball trophies and coffee pots
I have never seen a post-war Philco
with the automatic eye
nor heard Ravel's "Bolero" the way I did
in 1945 in that tiny living room
on Beechwood Boulevard, nor danced as I did
then, my knives all flashing, my hair all streaming,
my mother red with laughter, my father cupping
his left hand under his armpit, doing the dance
of old Ukraine, the sound of his skin half drum,
half fart, the world at last a meadow,
the three of us whirling and singing, the three of us
screaming and falling, as if we were dying,
as if we could never stop--in 1945--
in Pittsburgh, beautiful filthy Pittsburgh, home
of the evil Mellons, 5,000 miles away
from the other dancing--in Poland and Germany--
oh God of mercy, oh wild God.


I am still in a bad mood, so feel like wallowing in nostalgia. Below, a photo of Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913-1957, demolished in 1960.

My grandfather took this photo, reportedly in 1955, the same year my father and his brother attended the last game of the World Series that ended Brooklyn 4, NY Yankees 3 (note: any result in which the Yankees are in the losers column is sweeter than anything, other than perhaps the Giants in the losers column in the pennant race). Better photos here.

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