Marcus Colasurdo's Blog

Marcus Colasurdo

By Marcus Colasurdo
The Lock Raven Review

Empty Stadium (Baltimore)

When the silence of the street
had finally swallowed the rage,
when the smoke had turned
in upon itself
smoldering hard in its recession.
After the brooms had collected
the shards of glass
and pushed them away
to melt back to sand in their piles.
After the edicts and orders
and puzzles of newsprint
had faded to the familiar
and lost themselves;
after the burial
and the tear-dropped tombstone
had received the chisel
of birth and death dates,
the games again began.

In the broken city,
the sky was not a perfection of cerulean,
but the blues hung in the lungs
of the clouds nonetheless,
holding the ashes of stolen oxygen
and
nevertheless, the games began
and the scoreboard flashed
its careless digital numbers
as if…
as if…

I remember listening
from far away
as the boys of summer
greased their gloves,
tested again their lumber,
spit a bewilderment upon circles
of cowhide.

The games were on
but the anthem was sung
this time
in a minor key.
The stadium echoed a muteness,
empty down to its bones
and bare grandeur:
no popcorn
no peanuts
no crackerjack.

Today,
the gates were bolted,
their steel fear-fused:
no tickets were taken,
no admittance allowed,
no time-honored talk-back
to the umpire’s eyes.
There were men on the green-brown field;
the old town team
flashed fast upon a flawed diamond,
beginning again a child’s game
in a palace of new echo
where the crack of the bat
rang like a shot from a rifle
in the hands of a scrub.
Not one voice cheered,
not one fan
incited a row to a wave,
not one tongue hung
on the break of a curve,
not one beer swilled
or spilled
as the white small ball
sailed up and over
the brick-bound walls
and out into the street
where the color of
where the color of an orange bird-
this day—
nearly early May—
still smelled like fire,
still smelled unclaimed.

And
as the afternoon crawled
toward an uncertain dusk,
I listened to the emptiness
as if it was all
I was capable of,
and waited for the evening
to turn
the wings of that one
solitary, soaring bird
back
to black again…

Note: On April 29, 2015, the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Chicago White Sox 8–2 at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Not one person attended the game as the stadium was closed to the public due to the protests on the nearby streets over the death of Freddie Gray while he was in police custody.

© Marcus Colasurdo

Marcus Colasurdo is the author of 12 books including the underground classic Angel City Taxi. He has, over the years, worked in various jobs, including teacher, cab driver, bartender, construction worker, waiter, Job Corps counselor, features writer (Baltimore Chronicle), and house painter. As a writer for page and stage, Colasurdo is the founder of Gimme Shelter, a Baltimore-based performance group that does benefits for groups that work to alleviate poverty in our communities. Colasurdo is also the founder of the “Soul Kitchen”—a free meal program that has served delicious, nutritious meals to needy folk in Baltimore, Maryland, and Hazleton, Pennsylvania, for over 5 years. His recent collaborations with renowned photographer Ollivier Girard can be found on http://www.blurb.com/bookstore or by contacting Marcus directly at raintheatre@gmail.com.  See interview with Marcus Colasurdo conducted by G.H. Mosson in this issue of Loch Raven Review: G.H. Mosson, “Midnight with Marcus Colasurdo: On Poetry and Activism.”

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