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ŠKevin Varrone 2012

LRL little red leaves textile editions

Eephus6 (from Box Score)

Kevin Varrone

five & a quarter ounces avoirdupois : an eephus ain’t nothin’ : twilight seagulls skreak & skritter of light over the ballpark falling & failing & or fungoes a nightingale’s pastoral evasions: light ( when we aren’t watching ) twi- a pleat avoirdupois : light the way you enter a church twi- a pleat one minute the bleachers are empty next minute an old lady whispering hush fans milling night mulling everything is going to be going to sleep : octagon a lozenge little island of light lit & a world outside the scope of light : gemini diamonds time (a few hectoring distance markers) arcs & stars are forsythia avoirdupois mr. sutcliffe may we have the lights please


when I’m sure there is nothing going on I step inside: the way you enter history a pastime night baseball a song about the starry dark : game of pepper boys shagging fungoes or are they seagulls an unlikely home it’ s not yet night or ash fluttering over the park & lights fans milling a smattering of gulls or fungoes avoirdupois (an evocation) etymology unclear fr the old french & latin a populace moves second growth twilight an aftermath & rows of lights a pastime misspelled fr the old french:


to have in the final scene of field of dreams ray kinsella has a catch in the pre-dark with his father a ghost on a ballfield carved from a cornfield as his wife flips the lights on over the diamond have + peis i.e. weight an eephus : one go two goes fun goes phils & castor & pollux coming right up


sprawlings of flowers over the left field wall the gulls a raucous call: eephus misnomer: the night game (going to be going to be dark) a placebo change of pace to stretch spread out evening between two rivers the neck : inside the stadium there’s only stadium & sky light a kind of walled garden: fortification an inward facing plan : time passing is pretty much what baseball is all about : inch by inch lights come on the dark comes on (like entering a church) the home manager shall give his batting order to the umpire in chief in duplicate the visiting manager shall give his batting order to the umpire in chief in duplicate: may 24th 1935 the philadelphia phillies lost 2-1 to the cincinnati redstockings in the first ever major league baseball night game : in margaret wise brown’s goodnight moon each page the room grows darker (a pastime) a nocturnal atmosphere sd morris kantor of his painting baseball at night the ball shall be a sphere players of the home team shall take their defensive positions



the original layout of philadelphia as advertised in thomas holme’s portraiture of the city of philadelphia 1683 shows a gridiron bridge between two rivers: lights come on before it’s dark its four squares around a center square (it never gets dark) the diagram an inwardfacing plan : if rotated 45 degrees (counter-clockwise) the city (turning back time) looks like a baseball diamond: gulls avoirdupois 4-3 6-3 4-3 : we go to the home first american middle of one : twins nothing & the phils coming to bat


an eephus ain’t nothin’ (an evocation) & that’s what that ball is five & a quarter to have weight: the city a portraiture like a scoresheet : a utopian idea of order the game evolved into american fairytale: when I got drafted by the phillies I sd the who sd jimmy rollins victorino debutant it is night now when did it become night that is a pastime that is leading off ball four fans mill or mull a populace moves : then I took a deep breath rollins sd & I was like (stolen base) well you never know where your blessings are gonna come from: (spinning top to short) night (6-3) a need for shelter (runner advances to third on the play) : the field at citizens bank park is twenty-three ft below st level : how much of the game is anticipation & evocation the park a fortification (single & an rbi) a place where there is meadow plain open land (triple & an rbi) : the strikezone a frame the gulls (F7) a way to civilize a landscape a way to keep it in the yard : i.e. sac fly (rib eye) taking into possession beforehand : the skyline beyond home plate he goes down looking (3 runs on 2 hits no errors & none left on base) we’re through one phils 3 & the twins nothing


between innings a meantime (i.e. see interim i.e. in the midst of that) in most reckonings the world begins in darkness fr blackness let there be gulls fungoes lights in wheeling flocks you should enter a ballpark the way you enter a church (bill lee said) : night is the natural time for play for amusement for relaxations ( sd george cahill owner of a massachusetts floodlight manufacturing company just before ww i ) : insanity (sd einstein) is swinging at the eephus over & over again & expecting different results : the refrain of all early attempts at night baseball was that the field wld be as light as day : citizens bank park was designed facing inward the infield four bases around a center circle the playing field is twenty-three ft below street level (fans catch a glimpse of green frm outside the gates) the strike zone an abstract the pitcher’s mound is a boy’s room (george oppen sd) when we were kids we’d sleep beneath stars in the country night & there were so many we could grock the weight of light & weight of sleep & flight & we’d hear my grandfather’s lp microgroove of the shot heard round the world & how everything was & falling


june 18 1682 william penn founded philadelphia : baseball : a utopian plan for brotherly love ( little eden of inches ) placebo tremble at the name of the lord : my feet is tired but my soul is rested sd octavius catto 3 october 1866 (after the first recorded pythians game at the fairgrounds at 11th & wharton streets south philadelphia) : it pleases me to stand in silence between innings philip larkin sd : the box score & what’s outside the scope of the box score : lines & what’s between the lines : placebo i.e. a medicine given more to please than to benefit : in 1945 a throw by athletics outfielder hal peck hit a pigeon flying over fenway park harry o’neill of gettysburg pa went behind the plate in the eighth for his major league christening wrote james iseminger in his game summary for the inquirer he did not bat & had little to do behind the plate


when asked maurice van robays sd an eephus ain’t nothin’ & tht’s a nothin’ ball : that ball is outta here harry kalas used to say in 1974 willie horton hit a ball in the air in foul territory at fenway park & hit a pigeon: octavius catto played baseball for the first time at camp william penn 1864 while a member of the philadelphia national guard (6-3) the diamond shone in a blaze of glory an early account of night baseball claimed in a 1945 edition of the sporting news (base on balls) a cartoon depicted an army plane apparently off course : a baseball soared past the plane & (K) the pilot sd to the co-pilot we must be over pittsburgh (4-3) tht looks like a rip sewell blooper pitch


the eephus is a quaker pitch elusion sky (F9) is wider than the lights mr sutcliffe objects moving vertically & horizontally give our smooth pursuit system particular trouble : oh tht ball hit him kalas overheard phillies shortsop larry bowa say that ball is outta here during bp & he liked the sound of the phrase (3-6-3) a good rolling double consonant can freeze a hitter all that b&w footage of my dad’s stories about ebbett’s field : on march 24 2001 randy big unit johnson threw a bully pitch & hit a dove a catch doesn’t bring anyone together it measures how far apart they are : truett banks ‘rip’ sewell’s eephus wld reach an apex of twenty-five feet & proceed as much as two-thirds slower are we home emmett says on broad st passing the stadium the rise & drop a dying quail or gull a raucous call eephus dolce far niente : it gives a batter’s frontbrain a chance to remember & over think (what happens between innings) a pastime no runs no hits no errors & nothing that is not there & the nothing that is : at the end of 3 a game of inches : so much of baseball lyn hejinian sd is spent in a manner of waiting


not enough happens in baseball people say : fans milling the seagulls like advanced calculations piling up history is pretty much what baseball is all about jimmy rollins sd the game a kind of saying home plate don’t move satchel paige sd a boy’s team a kind of religion you should enter the way you enter a church william penn sd baseball is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity the lights a double luster on june 18 1778 british troops abandoned philadelphia deGaule sd there are in baseball all the means necessary : nostalgia considered a disease a severe homesickness fr nostos i.e. home + algos pain grief distress : baseball is a tail light not a headlight martin luther king sd : a thermometer not a thermostat


oct 1867 the pythians baseball club of philadelphia was denied admission to the pennsylvania association of amateur baseball players on the basis of race : come boy come & rest it’s in the gap june 18 1682 of citys & towns of concourse beware penn wrote to his wife if the ball is hit to me what am I going to do with it my dad used to say ask yourself lights come on as dark comes on when I was a boy I sometimes played right field where noone hits the ball I’d pick dandelions & snap their heads before they turned to wishes after baseball mark fidrych played minor league baseball & drove a dump truck for a living


before the ‘46 all star game ted williams asked rip sewell if he would throw tht blooper nl manager charlie grimm put sewell in & sd throw tht blooper pitch & see if you can wake up this crowd sewell who had been injured in a hunting accident the day the japanese bombed pearl harbor faced off against williams just home from the war & williams hit the third consecutive eephus for a three-run homer a deluxe version of the pitch sewell called a sunday super dooper blooper it’s the only home run sewell ever gave up on an eephus in three-hundred-plus big league appearances & he’d told williams it was coming again & images later showed williams had run up out of the batter’s box & was therefore in violation of 6.03 of the official rules of baseball which states a batter’s legal position shall be with both feet within the batter’s box


mr sutcliffe may we have the lights please an inning is a proposition spinoza sd a demonstration of an idea : the strike zone a theory of relativity ( & when did it become night) baseball is not a game it’s an argument sd george oppen rounding first like a country road look three look three a boyhood sitting in the grass is my favorite part emmett sd abt baseball between innings ron gardenhire gave his finest hour speech the box score & everything the box score does not remember in the natural roy hobbs sd god I just love baseball august 1867 octavius catto’s pythians played the washington mutual in philadelphia : in the stands watching his son play third base for washington was frederick douglass I love baseball woody allen sd in zelig he sd you know it doesn’t have to mean anything the lights the gulls that’ll run the count full it’s just beautiful to watch


the strike zone O of an old tire tied to a tree limb june 18 1682 the box score score card the way we see the game on paper (4-3) speculation is that the word eephus comes from the hebrew efes for zero i.e. nothing to remember & let go that’s pretty much what baseball is all about the lack of action itself had to be enacted wallace stevens sd a transfer of energy charles olson called the eephus F7 enter like a church the game a mass at night the lights make the dark seem less dark let go


darkness those evenings of the brain are pretty much what night baseball is all abt sd emily dickinson the apparition of those faces in the stands at shibe park a fastball is a bully pitch sd bill lee those black & white photos throw that zero sewell you only need two pitches sd warren spahn the one the hitter’s looking for & the one he’s not april 1971 harry kalas mc’d the opening ceremonies for philadelphia’s veteran’s stadium may 15 1976 mark fidrych subbed for a detroit tigers starter who had come down with avian flu you shape your ballparks thereafter they shape you sd winston churchill fidrych threw seven no-hit innings before winning two to one (a complete game) in one famous photo spaceman bill lee has a butterfly perched on the tip of his nose only one who has known force & recognized its limits can throw that nothing ball sd gandhi here endeth the inning: no runs two hits no errors & two left on base


another game: grass sky green only those who realize tht there is something in man which is superior to the brute nature in him (& tht the latter always yields to it) can effectively throw that blooper pitch game of inches game of measure from home which is equidistant from the other three bases tht is : fidrych eephus placebo gulls or fungoes pigeons the dodo : equidistant a step away from them webster’s dictionary (1879) defines mull as to work steadily without accomplishing much so much of baseball & childhood are spent in a manner of waiting mr sutcliffe may we have the lights please in the final scene of field of dreams the camera pans wide to the night sky I have a special power sd bill lee I’m lefthanded harry o’neill is one of two major league players to die in service in wwII video footage on youtube clearly shows ted williams running up at the pitch in the scene we see a trail of cars coming to the field during his debut mark fidrych was often seen talking to the ball the drivers of the cars were instructed to flash their lights on & off please


high beams low beams high beams low beams we thought he was trying to hypnotize us rico carty sd of penn’s plans for the city of philadelphia running the bases one begins to comprehend the pattern those black & white renderings of octavius catto that ‘86 angels playing card photo of donnie moore once you cross the plate you are home you who by not being here are here robert creeley wrote of the eephus coogan’s bluff overlooked coogan’s bowl site of the polo grounds before the new york giants left for san francisco nothing that is not there & the nothing that is is pretty much what the eephus is all about sd wallace stevens mark fidrych was dubbed ‘the bird’ b/c he resembled the dodo or big bird a passel of pigeons over the neck harry o’neill caught one inning for the philadelphia a’s we thought he was trying to hypnotize us carty sd abt the bird who threw back unused balls he thght had hits in them


for fidrych’s 13th start (v. the twins in minnesota) the home team released thirteen homing pigeons from the mound before the game (this was the inspiration for wallace stevens’ famous poem) to remain substance in the face of transubtantiality is pretty much wht hitting the eephus is all about (fidrych pitched a complete game for the win) : some things cannot be explained by continuance or time or we select our documents to tell our stories I mean the city the green the way people mill around between innings (mr sutcliffe may we have the lights please) the stairway from the bluff down to the bowl remains inning by inning the light grows grayer & softer one of the most fascinating dreams one could have is of all this broad fen-land as a great city playground wrote a visitor to the neck in the late 1800’s light a derivative miracle comes on : he got the bat head out hit that one a country mile how there is no there there now now hush hush there’s nothing but nothing & give & damn


in the evening pinkness of light their bodies gleamed beautifully wrote a visitor to the neck in philadelphia : night baseball a bedtime story (twin killing : two birds w/one stone) :we’re losing light & getting light in return those old photos of men & women in suits & dresses at the ballpark a neon liberty bell swings & gongs when the phillies hit a home run the churches of cooperstown welcome you a sign says on route 80 the game a way to ready us for sleep in morris kantor’s painting everything is inward-facing nine innings nine parts of speech language is pretty much what baseball is all about : the game at night how light finds its targets how kantor’s paiting is an ‘american scene’ & how everything is lit & light & the world & wilderness a way to civilize a landscpe


power of some sort will go on in games philip larkin sd tht ball is outta here : evolution & adaptation the unbeauty of small change : eephus : someday someone’s gonna knock that damn ball down yr throat eppie miller sd to rip sewell may 8 2008 detroit tigers pitcher armando galarraga threw something that looked like an eephus to fan david ‘big papi’ ortiz the diamond funnels out an opening field howard smokes one to straight-away center baseball isn’t a game it’s mythology an argument that is a lozenge language of men : if the ball is hit to you what are you going to do 1b F8 bb july 23 1939 harry o’neill caught the bottom of the 8th for the athletics in a 16-3 loss to the detroit tigers watching the game listening to the game o’neill did not come to bat it was his only big-league appearance : eephus moonpie eppie miller once caught a rip sewell blooper pitch while batting he threw it in the air & hit a line drive back at sewell baseball is baseball history a bedtime story palimpsest aperire-ovrir-aperture 4-6-3 twin killing (two birds w/one stone) a game of inches defense holds the ball


formed by yarn & wool around a small core : eephus half-way up the mountain field of dreams is a baseball fantasy ( i.e. mediocre ) in which the main character watches the games from the stands 10 oct 1871 octavius catto was shot dead on philadelphia’s south street during election day riots I thought harry o’neill came up at the end of the ‘39 season sd al brancato infielder for the a’s I have my father’s hands I have my grandfather’s hands sd bill lee june 5 1976 mark fidrych won his second consecutive eleven-inning complete game blind people come to the park just to listen to him pitch sd reggie jackson abt tom seaver in baseball at night the painter is watching the game from the stands field of dreams is a fantasy that never breaks the color line : police your area my dad sd smoothing the dirt around first base as the sun began to set we were standing shoulder to shoulder sd private first class james conte age ninety they got harry he sd they took him out b/c he was taller it should be a big deal sd brancato ( age 90 ) you’d think I’d remember something like that rewriting history is pretty much what baseball is all about yogi berra sd you can observe a lot by just watching : not less than five nor more than five & a quarter after school I’d play catch in the street with my grandfather who had my father’s hands & was dressed like those b & w photos of fans at ebbett’s field


once upon a time during a rain delay at my brother’s little league game the guys convinced alegio ‘al’ lopez ( who never got in a game until league rules mandated ) to run the bases in the downpour everyone was crammed in mr corey’s van he sd don’t do it al but al gave in he dug in to the box & looked for the pill just him & it & he faked a long drive big swing felt that ball just give & he knew it was going a long way in the gap he took off the rain in sheets tore down the line the field a sea he ran go one they yelled go two go two go three they yelled three & laughed rolled windows down & yakked it up look home look home they yelled & al hit third big big smile big smile big al coming home he dove head first & beat the tag & al & everyone & I stopped breathing he popped up muddrunk high-fiving sky arms high you’re not getting in my van like that mr corey yelled so al peeled off his uniform down to skivs & everyone laughed a nautical slang from ear to ear in the morning it will look like efes in the box score but al’s the best bedtime story I’ve got


Kevin Varrone is the author of passyunk lost (Ugly Duckling Presse), id est (Instance Press), and g-point Almanac, 6/21-9/21 (ixnay press) . He is the recipient of a 2012 Pew Fellowship in the Arts and lives outside Philadelphia.

This little red leaves textile series chapbook was designed and sewn by Dawn Pendergast in Houston, Texas.

Eephus (From Box Score) by Kevin Varrone  

New baseball poem by Kevin Varrone.