brewers baseball and things

maybe i heard a train


I’ve been working on an opera; can’t get past the first line, but I sing it anyway in my morning shower. Ichiro has a hammer. He wakes up way before the dawn.”

The stage scene is all dark during the repetition of these two lines. I sing them 5-7 times in high and low voices. Then the light crawls across the scene and a low baritone narrator voice sounds,

“As wind stirs the tall sugary grasses of Toyoyama, a father begins to play xylophone with Japanese soup spoons. The eyes of Ichiro have opened.”

Then I say things like “Mangos and mandrakes and manchurians” and  shut the computer down; deciding to ration my search engine to one every 72 hours or so; ya know that chaotic infinite arrow; beginning with wonder about a garlic skin’s waterproofosity and meandering four searches later to early Aryan Indus valley plumbing genius. Those pre-Hindus knew how to get rid of human waste. Incredible engineers.

I slide over to the bookshelf; time to get hen pecked by some books; maybe Survival of the Birch Bark Canoe by John McPhee again; hijacked by Henri Vaillancourt’s bare hands; building a canoe from scratch it must be spring.

Or screw it. There’s Jim Brosnan’s two books; both of them written in earshot of On The Road and Dharma Bums. Tickles every bone in my body. Brosnan passed away this past June. Damn Shame! I mean 90 years old happens, but strange timing because Brosnan promised to write a third book after the Cubs won the World Series. He was a big Cubs fan and well, the Cubs have all the fixings for an October stew; haven’t had one since 1906 and we’ll see what happens right there.

I walk outside and the damn mountain in Montreal is no mountain at all; more of a mound at 700 and some highest peak feet, but a mound is a mound and could be a burial mound dear Jim Brosnan and the parking lot behind my apartment complex is a shopping mall and well; consumer craze revenue spin the economy and what not so the snow plows arrive early in the pre Ichiro morning and they’re big and loud and holy Gestapo boots I wake up and there’s awe out the window. The snow is pushed into incredible mounds transforming the lot into Alps.

Kids forfeit culture’s first gift of dance and song and mount the mounds and play king of the hill and chicken. They do it every morning. Doesn’t matter when the the hills get crusted with pollution streaks and strewn with abandoned shopping carts. The kids are still there. I stop and stare and wonder how those carts get there? Set free from sidewalk gravity; tumbling to wherever ever land? Fly away parachutes crashing into a tree canopy; these strange and wonderful fates. Shoes dangling from overhead wires like feet dangling over a summer camp pond; maybe love for the first time or maybe love always feels like a first time.

Dontrelle Willis retired in Brewers camp a few days ago, but we never fall off our horses; just the scenery changes. The Brewers did very little this off-season; signed K-Rod to a 2 year contract, traded Marco Estrada to Blue Jays for Adam Lind, traded Yovani Gallardo to Texas for three up and comers.

Hot damn! We can sit on a park bench this apocalypse season and enjoy  sweet lemonade and consider the marination plan in full effect; the wisdom of Kyle Lohse seeping into still green minds of Wily Peralta and Jimmy Nelson. Lohse with stories and pranks and pinpoint control and don’t worry. Matt Garza in hoodie looks like Lohse’s Druid sidekick.

And The Great Walking  Path of Algonquin Ojibwe speaking people is still in full effect; just transformed into roads and highways and maybe tracks for trains and the colonizers saw the genius of birds and built runways and planes and there’s one right now floating across a perfect morning sky; so slow in its descent or ascent I can never tell. There’s a bunch of chimneys blocking the view; spitting smoke into all kinds of impossible shapes.



Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

15 thoughts on “maybe i heard a train

  1. “then he grabs his hammer and moves out to the lawn.”
    If you use the line then sell the opera, I get a cut. 🙂

  2. If it’s Ichiro, you’re not going light opera, are you? I mean, Ichiro deserve’s better than “I am the very model of a modern Major-General…”

    • i only know a smidgen of opera and that smidgen is the line Figaro Figaro Figaro which happens to rhyme with Ichiro, but for some reason or no reason, the last few weeks I have been replacing Figaro with Ichiro and now here I am reading the lyrics to modern Major General’s Song on wikipedia and before today I never knew about modern Major General’s Song. Thank you wk!!

    • Wouldn’t Ichiro more likely be in “The Mikado”, WK?

  3. (perhaps) a coincidence that the protagonist of my novel-in-progress is (perhaps) half Ojibwe.

  4. Steve, I read “The Long Season” about a month or so ago, and I’m surprised to hear that Brosnan was a Cubs fan! Yeah, I know that he lived near Chicago at the time that the book was written, but he was born in Cincinnati, and not only that but in the book (which is BRILLIANT, by the way; Brosnan really WAS an intellectual , or at least very droll and highly intelligent—– no WONDER his teammates called him “Professor”! I mean, professional baseball players have been known to call a fellow player “Professor” if he does something as read “Reader’s Digest”!)

    Incidentally, throughout the book, Brosnan quotes his wife as calling him “Meat” most of the time instead of his name, but there’s no explanation for this. That is a mighty strange nickname for a wife to call her husband, isn’t it??????

  5. Oh, yeah. I got off on a tangent. Yeah, I’m surprised to read what you said about Brosnan being a Cubs fan, because throughout the book, he sort of mentions how much he dislikes and roots against the Cubs for having traded him.

    • Thanks Glen. In an interview Brosnan talked about listening to the Cubs on the Radio as a kid and them being his favorite team and then go figure the Cubs signed him to his first contract. His first published article was about being traded by the Cubs and then later in life, he talked about the Cubs being his favorite team and saying sort of half joking that he was gonna write a third book when the Cubs win a World Series. Sounds like a love hate type of deal with the love kicking into high gear after his playing days were over. I’ll look for the interview and give ya the link if you want.

    • Glen, I found the interview; from “The Best of Spitball.” Looks like it’s from 1988; includes a short story from Brosnan as well. I musta got it from the McGill University book fair. Damn, i miss those book sales. McGill used to have one every autumn but stopped doing them a few a years ago. I used to get a bunch of baseball books for peanuts. That Spit Ball anthology was probably one of them. Anyway, if I find it on line, I’ll post the link. Otherwise you can buy it used for one cent on amazon, well worth the price.

  6. Going back to Mrs. Brosnan’s nickname for her husband, how did THAT get past the censors????……… in 1959, yet!!!!!

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