Postmodern Collage Poetry

A blog about writing collage poetry, post modern poetry, multi lingual poetry

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I Love the White Sox

recently during a period of insomnia I read an essay on by a lamenting Minnesota Twins fan entitled "I Hate the White Sox" . Since I am writered blocked right now and the poetry I am working on is not coming I thought I would try my hand at polemic.

I have been a fan of Chicago White Sox since I was 10 years old. My father took me to old Comiskey Park to see the Royals play the White Sox in 1977. My Dad grew up a Yankee fan but his life was dedicated to working, not sports, so it was up to me to create my sports diet and build that part of my life. I fell in love with the White Sox in 1977, Richie Zisk, Oscar Gamble and of course Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall at the microphone.

The greatest thrill for me that year was meeting Bill Veeck. My Dad had gotten tickets by first base from a friend for us, he left me in the Box to get some hot dogs and there ten minutes later was this grizzled man, with a wooden leg who came right up to me and said, welcome young man are you enjoying the park? I wish I had been smart enough to get his autograph but I was just stunned to meet Bill Veeck and it is a memory I will always have.

The 1977 Sox, the South Side Hitmen were a great team but they choked. This would be the beginning of a lifetime of pain, anguish and self satisfaction. 1983 and Gerry Dybszinski's running error we lost! Tearing down old Comiskey...

White Sox fans are different than Cubs or Red Sox fans. Cub fans are optomists, Cub fans are the kind of people who laugh at rain at the picnic or who make lemonade from lemons that is why they pack into their pretty ball park, full of pretty girls in a pretty neighborhood, Ernie Banks is a the perfect Cub and perfect for their fans. Red Sox fans are also different they are literary, they are like the French, classy in their defeat full of angst and existential pain and longing. But they are tough and ignore pain in exchange for a great story.

White Sox fans are bitter and tough. The legacy of our team is one of pain sometimes escrucuating pain. First off Sox Park sits at one of the great fissures in American life.
To the east is Bronzeville the great African American neighborhood with its history and culture, to the west lies Bridgeport, Chicago's Irish Political mecca (Now Mexican) to the south of the park once layed the Chicago Stockyards (You Remember Hog Butcher of the World) to the north is China Town. Unlike our northside brethern our park sits in real neighborhoods where people have Chicago accents and where tofu and gourmet are not normal words. Sox fans are the descendants of Steelworkers, Stockyard Workers and other tough people. At Sox park it is normal to see people with stumps, people missing limbs from industrial accidents it is also normal to see people of every hue and race. At Wrigley Field or Fenway Park the crowds are overwhelmingly white at Comiskey Park they are not. Comiskey Park also sites next to the Dan Ryan expressway, Mayor Richard the Firsts attempt to hem in the African Americans of Chicago, it also sits on the spot of the 1919 Chicago Race Riots America's greatest Urban raceriot where Ethnic Chicago beat African Chicago with cudgells.

Sox fans of all races have a shared pathology. It comes from the fact that in 1919 our team threw the World Series. It took 40 years of losing to get back. While the Northside of Chicago filled with blonde yuppies and ' artists' the southside filled with empty factories. racial strife, and then a new ball park that is not a resevour of the old. The Southside stills feels like Chicago the northside feels like Iowa City or Madison, like a college town.

Ernie Banks is the perfect Cub, Carl Yastremski the perfect Red Sox but the perfect White Sox, that would be Carlton Fisk. He was acidy, he was tough and he worked hard all his life he succeeded inspite of his maladies and he carried our Southside team on his back for 13 years. The fact that the Sox put up a statue to him at Sox park is a tribute to our Team's spirit.

So now it is 2005, theWhite Sox are 34 games over 500 and no one in the world thinks we can win a World Series. If we are mentioned by Baseball Tonight it is only to say how we are going to fail and that in the programs 55th minute.

America has given up on the kinds of people who root for the White Sox. America loves investment bankers and high tech execs and people who live in anticeptic suburbs where everyone is the same. The Yankees sure; the Cubs, wow what great fans! The White Sox? their fans have no right to expect a winner that dream has gone the way of the Union Stockyards, South Works and the many shuttered Ethnic Catholic Churches of the Southside, closed and forgotten.

The 2005 White Sox win the way Sox fans live. They are diverse, country boys like Mark Buehrle, African Americans like Carl Everett, every type of Latin American including Cuban Refugees and of course our own Tad Iguchi.

But mostly it is about Ozzie Guillen who embodies us. He tells you what he thinks, directly and preferabily laced with explectives, he is scrappy and tough and wants to win and does not care if we are not supposed to win, the spirits of Eddie Cicotte, Joe Jackson,Swede Risberg Buck Weaver, Luke Appling and Monty Stratton dwell in Ozzie he is our guy and he is one of us not some out of town hireling but part of our family.

The White Sox win small, they do the little things and they are beating everyone. If they were to win the W**** S*****, there would be a ring of Purgatory that would be freed of its sinners, Nelson Algren, Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, Charles Comiskey,
the 1919 race rioters, the hustlers and peddlers of Maxwell Street, the Steel Workers Ghosts of South Works and the Ghosts of Back of The Yards would collectively ascend and heaven would not know what happened because an ignored groups of Devotees would be in the sky for St Richard J Daley to welcome into paradise.

I abide in my Fandom

Monday, August 01, 2005

Dantes Inferno & Umberto Eco

Been reading allot over the summer- I am in the middle of the Hollander's new translation of Dante's Inferno. It is a real tour de force (or Giro di Forza). The notes are great and the matching columns of English and Italian are great. After reading so much crap poetry of late to read Dante is like coming upon an oasis.

The sheer poetic range of Dante is something that makes reading the work so quenching. I have been reading for meter as well and this makes the work so interesting because this is not something found in poetry today. I think that it is the sheer visual power of the language that makes it a good read.

I am also reading Umberto Eco's new novel, the one about the Milanese bookseller who cannot remember his family. This is a tough read- so summer continues- many comings and goings- but looking forward to fall