Margate Park


Mo rode
Humpty Dumpty
back of the banana seat,
both legs stuck out
either side for ballast,

and I peddled
scrawny butt jockey high
for leverage,

a rickshaw-pulling
coolie

across Broadway
heading east
on Argyle Street

past the Hip Sing Association
where Third Uncle Chi
lost his pants

or rather had them stolen
at gunpoint
by a gang of Vietnamese thugs
as he late-night mahjongged.

They specified to meet
after the lunch hour rush
which meant
in Chinese restaurant time
well past three o’clock,

at least the seventh inning
of a 1:20 daytime
Wrigley start

giving the four of us
sometimes four hours
of daylight
to fast pitch.

Our slice of the American pie
featuring hard-throwing
quick-pitching Kwan
and Wu, stocky, deliberate

he of the Bill Madlock
compact swing

against the fieldhouse
over that damned curb

traffic into the parking lot
constantly stopping play.

Usually no one
picked on us
because of Wu

too damn stubborn
that even when the bully
at least thirty pounds heavier
and four inches taller

threatened to
rock ‘em, sock ‘em
"knock his block off"

all he needed to say
he said with a quick
compact punch
hard into the stomach.

and no cheap foul tips calls
barely nipped allowed
just nicked
to prolong an unnecessary at bat,

throw harder now
and count foul tips
into the box
as strike three

since the brothers
needed to be back
in time to bus
the dirty tables.