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Meditations In A Non-Emergency

Emily Dickinson:

A PROMPT, executive Bird is the Jay,
Bold as a Bailiff’s hymn,
Brittle and brief in quality—
Warrant in every line;
Sitting a bough like a Brigadier,         5
Confident and straight,
Much is the mien
Of him in March
As a Magistrate.

The Blue Jay is fastidious and buttoned up—he believes that science can explain anything. The Blue Jay is reality, or at least wants to be. The Blue Jay wants to combat fiction with fact. The Blue Jay believes that a climate controlled environment for baseball is preferable. The Blue Jay does not believe in the Indian, does not believe in anything with a non-Eastern origin. 

Melancholy breakfast
blue overhead blue underneath

the silent egg thinks
and the toaster's electrical
ear waits

the stars are in
"that cloud is hid"

the elements of disbelief are
very strong in the morning 

The Blue Jay did his work yesterday, went to work with a clipboard and a checklist, showed me again and again where I had erred in my calculations. The Blue Jay showed me how even a man named Jo-Jo ought to be feared. Now, this morning, I rub my eyes and try to find the coffee. The eggs stare at me, all of my appliances ask for an explanation. Did I mislead them? Have I been lying to the microwave? The kettle looks at me cross-eyed. The toaster won't speak. The elements of disbelief are very strong in the morning. 

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

I tell my appliances that the Blue Jay might be right—we were never riding on gold and silver baseball stars, we were traveling on cobbled together dreams. That's why we've been so prickly with each other, it's hard to believe in a group. For all we know, the Blue Jay's checklists are reality. Maybe his science is right. Maybe baseball ought to be played in air conditioning. The eggs stare back at me. It's not a great answer. 


Not much of a poem, Mitch. Does it have to start making sense now? We've spent the last two months watching a toddler doing calculus while others screeched: "That toddler can't do calculus! He's a toddler!" We know that, we know the toddler shouldn't be able to do calculus—we're also trying to figure it out. But, anyway, yeah, he's been doing it for a while now. 

You reap what you sow and we planted these 2011 Indians, planted them without much fanfare, assuming they might grow into something barely qualifying as sustenance. We didn't really know what we planted—the little packet certainly didn't say: "Justin Masterson: Best Indians Starter Since Cliff Lee" or "Legitimate Reason To Argue About Semantics Of Phrase 'Win In Last At Bat.' " 

Unexpectedly, the Indians have grown tall, reaching for the fifth deck, a giant stalk of Shelley Duncan, towering over Canadian doctors. Where to, Mitch?