Ted Williams (1972)
Dip the rear shoulder as you land
your front foot and you won't lunge
on a Wilbur Wood knuckler, goddamnit.
With his best Texas Ranger hitting .250,
manager Teddy Fucking Ballgame is tempted
to activate himself. He is fifty-four,
beefy, but how hard is it to sit back,
trust hips and hands, and drill Woods' pus?
Williams, 34-inch Louisville Slugger in hand,
swaggers to the water cooler. On defense,
his boys labor to field routine grounders.
If he was twenty years younger....
Williams shuts his eyes: Korea, 1953, his F-9
fighter is aflame in the closest game he'll win.
This poem was first published in Elysian Fields ( a baseball quarterly edited by Tom Goldstein). It was subsequently included in a Red Shuttleworth poetry chapbook, Brief Lives... and is now included, along with many other Red Shuttleworth bio-sketch poems, in Ghosts & Birthdays, a book available on Amazon.