What Really Matters Is What Happens At Home

by Cantinker Moss

 

Originally penned in 1999, this poem has more to do with what happens off the diamond.  Though inspired by the Baseball Playoffs,  (Go Sox!)  it is intended to be a metaphor for something more universal.

 

Casey was at the bat,

And he didn’t strike out.

 

Now let me tell you something about baseball

And the ones who play the game.

 

There is the pitcher:

Tall, rangy, poised.

The franchise.

The golden boy.

He steps out of the dugout

And walks to the mound.

His is the arm that launched the season.

His is the arm we talk about all winter.

Movement, speed, location,

Heat, curve, change.

You wonder and adore.

He is the king of the hill.

 

He throws the ball.

But what if it is hit?

 

There is the infielder.

Perpetual motion.

Lateral motion.

First base, second, short, the hot corner.

‘Round the horn.

His glove is his partner.

A weapon.

A secret solution.

The enemy of the bat.

The siren call of every hit ball.

“Come to me…come to me…”

And then like a cat,

Six, four, three,

And that’s that!

Two outs, as a matter of fact.

 

He fields the ball.

But what if it goes through?

 

There is the outfielder.

(No, actually there are three of them.)

Maybe that’s why young boys want to be one.

Because they need so many of them.

So many of them.

So many names.

Names that you and I remember:

Joltin’ Joe and the Mick,

Yaz and the Kid,

Tris and Say Hey,

Hammerin’ Hank and the Babe.

But logically speaking,

And due-respect keeping,

If the pitcher did his job,

And the infielder his,

Would there ever need to be

An outfielder or three?

 

He catches the ball.

But what if it falls?

 

And then there is the catcher:

The player behind the plate.

They say he sees the whole game,

Probably the first to know its fate.

His ears hear the umpire’s “Ball!” and “Strike!”

But he alone may know whether they were right.

And slammed foul balls to the mask.

And foul balls run out to the back!

His body twisted backward on the dugout rail,

Or headfirst into the bat rack.

Those passed balls that just might have been wild pitches.

And yes, he feels the pitcher’s pain!

But the pitcher never comes to him.

But he goes out again and again and again.

And his knees are shot,

But he still “runs ’em out.”

And catchers become managers,

And some other players, millionaires no doubt.

 

But let me tell you something,

And may humankind know it well,

From the catcher’s mitt to the family hearth

Know this:

As far as we are all concerned,

What really matters

Is what happens at home.

 

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The Woman In the Womb

by Cantinker Moss

” A Nation that kills its own children has no future.”

Pope John Paul II

It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.”  Likewise, as I thankfully had not been the aborted, so far as reason leads me, I would not be the one who performs, condones, requests, legislates in favor of, or undergoes an abortion.  We both speak of democracy more than we think.

This post is not an easy one.  No doubt, I may be misunderstood.  Roe v. Wade introduced a complex if not controversial situation.  On one hand not all pregnancies occur under the same circumstances…no “one size fits all.”  There are rapes.  There is incest.  All demanding careful consideration and not the rapid, indifferent judgment of the mother by her peers.  Once the “baby bump” appears, so does a scarlet letter of sorts, unless the pregnancy was “cleared” as legitimate;  i.e. a visible couple in many cases with shared vows and wedding bands.

Abortion in its most fundamental examination and possible application (not all mothers who think about abortion, have abortions) is actually a horror.  Plain and simple…no matter how you rationalize it, a human with life is there and then gone:  the life snuffed out.  But we are not just talking about any creature…pig or platypus…we are dealing with human DNA, at least according to science.  And I know that many in science determine life according to certain time factors, but still far too many lives…legitimately classified as “living” are terminated.  Just ask Dr. Gosnell.

But in the following poem, something sinister is suggested.  Not because women set out to be “monsters,”  but that in our present society the real ethics have not been examined enough.  As I listened to the recent Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, I was surprised to hear one senator refer to “abortion on demand” as a code word.  Since when couldn’t “abortion on demand” refer to just that, abortion when you want it.  And what is unreasonable about a minor needing parental consent to get an abortion.  I mean, yes, there are irresponsible , even abusive parents who have questionable authority in their children’s lives.  But what of the truly loving, caring parents who are genuinely concerned about the future of their children?  And I don’t mean parents who count it as caring for their children to attend Harvard.  In fact some of these mothers may indeed have gone through the guilt and regret of having abortions themselves, and they do not wish their daughters to go through similar experiences.  But mostly I couldn’t help but notice so much emphasis on the victimized mother…and I am by no means saying that great forces beyond an individual’s control do not turn the abortion debate into something of a “game of Pong.”  But could someone have at least mentioned what was inside her womb?

That is what this poem attempts to do.

A ghastly sight is she.

A sisterhood of blood they must be.

(Yes, even the unborn bleeds.)

And she suffocates in salt

And moves in pain:

The woman in the womb.  

She will be no lady of the house

Or princess arrived to the ball.

She will never govern or influence

The affairs of men

Or mankind at all:

The woman in the womb.

No glass ceiling will she ever approach,

Let alone crack or break it when

Judges of this generation pass sentence

And a Slaughter of the Innocents

Comes to pass

Because of women

Who carry

These women

In their wombs.

Sisters, mothers, girls and 

Aged matrons who demand

Their legal pound of flesh.

Rock stars, movie stars, and Nasty Women

Who shout, “It is the law!…It is the law!”

“And those of us who uphold this law

Think perhaps it is a better death

Than back alley and coat hanger surgery.”

So we each come to decisions:

Moral decisions,

Economic decisions,

“My future at stake!” decisions, (spoken and unspoken)

Inconvenient decisions,

Demographic decisions,

Some even say legislative decisions,

But nevertheless, life and death decisions.

While womankind is shrinking,

Until a generation is missing.

And future generations ponder

What of a people who in war, crime and peace

Killed their own?

Oh…you…defenseless one!

Without even one weapon!

To fight for your life

Against the stranger and the machine

That sucks out every limb and organ.

Oh…humanity!!

Is there anyone who has a heart,

Or even simple, thoughtful, kind regard?

But so… at the inn there was no room.

And the sound of laughter might come to ruin.

And life goes on from midnight to noon.

And babies are still nursed in hospital rooms.

And fathers take to heart either glow or gloom,

But make damn sure there is food in their spoons.

Whether in poverty or in wealth…from one parent or two…

Care for all life

(Not the least…care for this mother with child!)

Must always continue.

Because the woman with child or not,

At one time

Was

A woman in the womb.

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The Man In the Seat By the Rear Tire

by Cantinker Moss

 

On a bus.

Oh…too much of a bus

And somewhere near Mobile, in old Alabam…

Yeah, I guess it was.

This man.

This old drunk man

(Too much of an old drunk man)

In too much of this bus.

Well,

He drank

And stank

And thanked himself for all

He had a hankerin’ for.

But he did kill someone:

Someone from New Orleans,

Not the forgiving kind…

Who left all forty burns on his forearm

As if to pay the tab.

Oh God!

Oh God, dontcha see this man drinks too much?

Said this man.

But by the time it was over,

He was slumped over dead

In the seat by the rear tire.

The authorities arrived;

Everyone perspired;

Not sure what was even required.

And he,

Eyes wide:

A last retiring

Glance of glory.

And no one

Even

Applauded.

 

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The Centurion

 

by Cantinker Moss

 

A song written back around the 1980’s.  A take on the Crucifixion.  What would make a Roman commander of one hundred men say what he did as recorded in both the Gospels of Luke and Matthew?  Righteous Man?  Son of God?  An end?  A beginning?

 

Chorus:  O there once was a centurion,

                His authority he was told was Caesar’s line.

                And he saw a world of oppression,

                From Gaul down to Palestine.

 

Well, he might have heard John the Baptist.

Saying, “Do no violence to a man.

For I tell you, One is coming

Whose fan* is in His hand.”

 

Chorus

 

And he saw them nail Him to the cross wood,

But he wondered why they told Him to come down,

While they ridiculed Him in His torment,

And His bloody, thorny crown.

 

Yet he heard Him say, “Father, forgive them.

They know not what they do (this brutal mob.)”

And maybe that’s the reason the centurion said,

“Truly, This was the Son of God!”

 

Chorus

 

  • Matthew 3:12  (KJV)

 

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My little buddy

by Cantinker Moss

Here is my good buddy. This guy has single-handedly (-pawedly?} changed my opinion about felines. Yes, there are cats with nasty dispositions, but they probably have their reasons.  And really, all animals have their particular traits. Wolves and mountain lions kill to eat, and even pit bulls are trained to fight, unfortunately.

But this guy…well, he’s definitely low maintenance. A can of Nine Lives, and he’s content.

So I want to introduce you to Gumball as he is known around the house. (Gumball is a popular cartoon cat) But to me, he’s known as Sgt. Gumball. If he isn’t eating, you’ll find him on a chair in the living room…sleeping on my son’s bed…on a table next to me and my easy chair…or a bean bag chair in my den.  You’ll also find him stalking around the house in the middle of the night.  I guess he’s probably on one of his patrols looking for enemies.  Yep, you’ll find him in any of these places—that is if he isn’t in my lap when I’m not using my laptop.

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That’s my buddy.

(I had to revise the photo of Sgt. Gumball because I lost it on a previous manuscript) (Also, thanks to my son, Phil, for a great shot of Sgt. Gumball at attention at the top of this post.

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Oh, Cheryl Sing

 

by Cantinker Moss

 

This poem was probably started more than thirty years ago, either just before or after I married my wife, Cheryl.  No matter how hard I tried, I never could get something of a finished product.

But after thirty-five years, I began to learn an array of things about my wife:  things she didn’t have to tell me…things I just saw.  And with this discovery, I came to learn some things about myself:  and many of them weren’t pretty.  I’m not so sure she wasn’t going through this herself, even though she never ever seemed the type to be guilty of much.  But she assured me that she was not perfect, and that she was also a piece in the Master’s grand puzzle.

So after many years we both came a little closer to understanding who each of us was;  so much that we found it would be very difficult to live without each other…whether we wanted guidance, consolation, or physical intimacy.  Even two tired shoulders to cry on.  Little did we know that a commitment that we made to each other in 1982, with some work from each of us, would yield something akin to a harvest.

Enough introduction.  Here is the poem and I am going to let it speak for itself.

 

You are my guardian angel,

My dear, forever friend,

A mother of our two sons,

A lioness for them.

But you have always been there,

Through storm, and less, and doubt,

Yet this is what my heart will say

When hope, we seem without.

 

Chorus:

Oh Cheryl sing!  Oh Cheryl sing!

I want to hear you sing!

Oh Cheryl sing!  Oh Cheryl sing!

I want to hear you sing! 

 

I saw you in the park one day,

Your voice rang out so true,

With an instrument of twelve strings,

Telling the story that you knew.

About the One, your truest friend,

And what He did for you.

The smallest voice seemed to make me

Want to be your friend and His friend too.

 

Chorus:

 

Oh barefoot girl on a riverbank,

With your father’s fishing pole,

Missouri sand pines and Kentucky bluegrass,

Feed heaven’ward praise aglow,

But I will never forget your deep, dark eyes,

And the smile that rings with life,

A long-haired angel in purest hues,

For eternity all, you are my wife.

 

Thank you.

 

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Derby Day 2018

by Cantinker Moss

 

This will be short.  I want to get this down before the final odds are determined.  I’ve seen a lot of picks, and my, what a field of horses!

I am no professional odds-maker, and you may not subscribe to my amateur style of handicapping, but I am evaluating this race from the point of view of a casual observer.  And this is what I have come up with from observation over this last month of the racing season:

WIN  Mendelssohn  I simply cannot forget his victory in Dubai a month ago.  He’s “Irish,” he’s beautiful, and whenever he races, I hear the beginning of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s Italian Symphony—so free and exhilarating, and it fits this horse’s soundtrack.  I’ve had him from the first time I wondered who might win the Derby, and there he stays.

PLACE  Magnum Moon  I’ve heard too many good things about Magnum Moon to ignore him.  And they have all been very good.  I might’ve picked him to win if not for my affinity for Mendelssohn.

SHOW  Justify  Given his track record, you just have to give him his due, and besides, he’s a Baffert horse.  The problem is I just like Mendelssohn and Magnum Moon more, and still a favorite doesn’t always win the race.

 

Here are the post positions and odds for each of these horses according to Jason Frakes of the Louisville Courier Journal updated today (May 1, 2018) at 12:04 p.m. ET:

Justify  Post Position 7;  3-1 odds

Mendelssohn  Post Position 14;  5-1 odds

Magnum Moon  Post Position 16;  6-1 odds

 

Okay, that’s it from where I’m sitting.  I’m going to keep these picks for the Preakness Stakes, but I may make some adjustments for the Belmont.  I’ll be tuning in Saturday to hear the call on NBC.  Post time is 6:34 p.m. ET, and they should be off at 6:46 p.m. ET.  I hope all have a great time with their bourbon, juleps, and hot brown.  And may the ladies look fine in their hats.

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