Book Review: Uppity by Bill White

Uppity: My Untold Story About The Games People PlayUppity: My Untold Story About The Games People Play by Bill White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A real page turner that highlights some of the lesser-covered parts of the game of baseball. While the racism that has plagued the game is certainly no secret, White’s first-hand account as a player, broadcaster and president of the National League puts a personal, human face on the changes baseball has made, and the distance it has yet to travel. This book was written by someone who is very confident, and who certainly seems to feel he rarely if ever made a mistake, but at the same time he made it through a four-decade career in a tough business as a black man, so some protective ego isn’t surprising. All in all, well worth reading.

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POEM: Eat At Joe’s

Eat At Joe’s

we slept in the back of our
        Honda Fit across the road
        from a swanky bed & breakfast

a ridge across the middle of the car
        kept either of us from sleeping soundly
        while birds with laser guns warred in the trees

I don’t wear underwear & I’m too overweight
        to change in the car so at one point
        I was naked on the gravel at Parsons Marsh

we started on the road trip with -$100
        in the bank and $100 in my pocket
        enough for gas, one meal at the Heritage

& then some bread, cheese & pepperoni
        to eat on a blanket in the car
        faces lit from time to time by passing headlights

in the morning we ate omelets at Joe’s Diner
        the one from the Rockwell painting with the cop
        & the kid who should have been allowed to escape

there was a signed photo of John Williams on the wall
        which reminded me that I first saw Star Wars
        at a drive-in not too far from here

now: a coffee shop eavesdropping on the locals
        picking out the ones we want to befriend
        when we finally escape PA & move here

///

Jason Crane
10 May 2019
Lenox, MA

Note: It turns out I wrote a poem with this same title back in 2012.

POEM: regrets

regrets

while breathing in & breathing out
I picture myself on my deathbed
tearful family surrounding me
*
it’s just a few years from now
which is so disappointing
I waited & waited until I was free
but I was never free
*
I treated my life like a prison sentence
waiting for a red parole stamp
to mark the beginning of the happy phase
*
I thought my argument to the board
was convincing but I never quite got over
always ending the day with a slow march
back to my cell
*
what does it mean to be unhappy
from the moment you’re born till the very end?
*
back in the present I return to the breath
again and again back to the breath
I feel it deep in my gut
but the anchor slips and I’m adrift again
*
in four-and-one-half years I’ll be 50

///

Jason Crane
29 April 2019
State Motherfucking College PA

POEM: Le Fay

Le Fay

she feels the sparks on her fingers
when she presses them into her palm
electronica in her headphones
sun on her pale face
picking out the freckles

she walks among the regulars
as if she were no different
as if she had no magic
but the mystery runs in her blood
mixing with the cells and platelets
it fills her mouth with a metallic taste
makes her see dancing lights in the air

one of these days she’ll show them
she’ll make them stare open-mouthed
she’ll let the electricity dance
like Daft Punk, cruise like Kraftwerk
she’ll part the sea of faces
to let her stride through, untouched

///

Jason Crane
26 April 2019
State College PA

POEM: Golden Record

Golden Record

Little pieces of Bach and Beethoven;
Indonesian folk music;
love songs from Peru;
millions of miles from its parent planet,
alone in the dark,
waiting.

///

Jason Crane
Earth Day 2019
Planet Earth