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Monday, 8 March 2010

To Bill Lee



Bill Lee: photo by WlldWikiGuy, 2009

Pitching keeps me sane. But why stay sane? -- Bill "Spaceman" Lee

Don Hoak never understood you, Spaceman
It wasn’t in the stars
Don’s nose was just too hard, I reckon
He couldn’t conceive of people like you and Hans Arp
who hurl the truth into the bourgeois face of language

People like Reggie Smith and Pudge Fisk
will never understand you either
because you tell it like you see it

You told it like you saw it that time with Ellie Rodriguez
and lost a few teeth for it
but what are a few teeth in the face of the truth?

You tell it like you see it in Spaceman Language like your spiritual grandfather Picabia
even when you get into hot water

File:Picabia starDancer.jpg

Star Dancer on a Transatlantic Steamer: Francis Picabia, 1913 (private collection)

File:Picabia SelfDrawing.JPG

Self-Portrait: Francis Picabia, c. 1923 (private collection)

To Bill Lee (excerpt): from TC, Fan Poems (1976)


Robb said...

Oh, Spaceman ... a worthy tribute


Thanks for this, Tom, when spring arrives a young man's thoughts turn (once again) to baseball. . . .


grey whiteness of clouds above shadowed
green of ridge, robin calling on branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

one of the drawings done on
the spot, among those

experience, some view of it,
itself is so ordinary

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
white clouds in blue of sky above ridge

Curtis Roberts said...

I'd like to think that this poem would have made Francis Picabia very happy.

TC said...

For those who weren't aware, Bill Lee was a left-handed pitcher.

Perhaps this is all ye know, and all ye need to know.

I once slept in Francis Picabia's house in the arid hills above the town of Vence, Alpes-Maritimes.

This was a few years after Picabia's death.

There was a high wall around the house. Surrounding the wall was a small forest of very large and formidable cacti.

I had been invited by the people who were taking care of the house. But the estate was largish, the house extended back from the front gate to a somewhat funky and stagnant swimming pool (think of the pond in Diabolique), where the caretakers were wont to lounge about, out of earshot of the bell at the gate.

When no one answered the door after ten minutes or so, I attempted to scale the wall.

(Common sense never having been my forte.)

This was nearly a half century ago, but I believe I may still have fragments of the thorns of Francis Picabia's cactus imbedded in my person.

Anonymous said...