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Pitching ideas

1 Once there was a pitcher who could curve adverbs, prepositions, the day he was playing ball in -- in fact, he threw ideas, knucklers rotating whole sentences at a time, sliders where conjunctins usually were -- and one day as he was watching one of his ideas spin, he saw his shadow was elongated over the entire infield. He had third base for a foot, shortstop for a head, and every time he wound up something was catching what he threw he didn't expect; pigeons flew by, fans in the sunlight, no opposition. He discovered he wasn't playing for a team, he was expressing ideas. He was having a ball.

And one day the center fielder was playing where the a cloud was, the flag kept scoring in the wind, sliding nouns, and there wasn't any way the pitches couldn't be successful, for his thoughts included the entire team he played for: all the ideas expressed together.

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You are pitching, and as you are winding up you stop midair and listen. Somewhere in your past you hear some daisies in the wind speaking to you, and there is a small stream bubbling over rocks. Then as you start to continue your motion you realize you are not on the mound, you are at second base, and there is a small frog in the infield, a green blur on the edge of the grass, a fielder's choice -- and you hold up your hand -- call, "Time-out" -- let that frog hop into your glove, run off the diamond with it, deposit it safely in some tall grass, run back onto the field, holler to the umpire, "OK, I'm ready to play now."

And all the time the batter has been trying to figure out how to get set for the next pitch, get back his momentum, his timing.

And the next inning he tells you, "It was the first time I ever got struck out by a frog.I don't know who we are playing aga"Couldn't just one game you play normal, nothing peculiar?"


Back there then adverbs became double plays, Newport, Ann, and Paul Kennedy could pitch day after day on our baseball team without his arm getting tired -- "I strike them out with my thought," he said.

Then a loon would cry -- a star migrate -- and suddenly it turned very quiet around second base after everyone left and I would walk around the infield imagining grammar was running the base: the opposition: meanings uniformed in syntax.

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And in those days goldenrods patrolled center field -- left-handed comets -- and Goose kept hitting them over Grove Street, over Lake Sebasticook, over the state of Maine.

Then the school bell would ring, or a train would come, and for hours in the summers and score remained 3 to 2 in the fourth inning as we went with the girls down to the swimfront to go swimming.

And it got so lightning played for our team, prepositions were good bunters, violets scored -- and still Paul kept pitching both double-headers at a time.

"My slider," he said, "is a pause."

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