who nicknamed himself Dribble
who used to be a high-school basketball star
wanted paid in baseball cards, not money
but my friend Shawn loved baseball
at least as much as getting stoned
especially Roberto Clemente
dead now 18 years
who fell from the sky
to earthquake victims.
What an angel that guy was in right field
locomotive on the bases
a steel mill at the plate
twice pounding 100 RBIs
and 3000 hits overall.
who led the Pirates to two championships
who blasted a solo home run
in game seven
of the 1971 World Series
and all of Pittsburgh exploded with love—
grown men with black lungs
clutched their 200-pound wives
while the transistor radios sang.
“Not my Roberto Clemente” Shawn said
standing seven feet tall
with hands to palm a human head
The life Shawn led was not the life
Shawn wanted to lead.
Never had it been more clear than standing
in this shithole apartment in Youngwood
clutching what remained of his childhood
in one hand and a cold Budweiser in the other.
Roberto Clemente wouldn’t have sold
his Roberto Clemente
Topps bubblegum baseball card
to an ex-jock drug dealer
unless it saved some kids
in South America
and that kind of love and dedication
was the kind of thing that made Shawn want to get stoned.
Bless you Roberto Clemente.
We all can’t be you.
And Jesus, it was Friday and the world was still the world
and the Pirates hadn’t won the Series
in almost a decade.
When Dribble asked
one more time
for the 1971 Clemente card
Shawn dropped it on the table
baseball safe in his memory
another major loss
another minor victory
his pocket filled with a bag
of Alaskan Thunderfuck
rumored to be some very primo weed.
Photo By: Wally Gobetz