by Jason O’Toole
Our coach (and sponsor) got a great deal
on our jerseys which came back misprinted
& thus, we were known that summer
as THE PENQUINS
of Westland Hills.
I asked and received #1,
Billy Martin’s number.
This made me feel very important
& I referred to myself as team manager
as I manned second base.
Coach owned a sleeping bag factory
& drove us to practice in a mammoth Imperial
Neil Diamond on the stereo.
Nothing but Neil.
We celebrated a winning season
with a movie, which our dads
did not realize was Rated R
until a topless Jamie Lee Curtis
strode onto the screen.
You’d think a NY team
would eat anyplace but Pizza Hut.
They had Pac Man and pitchers of soda.
Like us, it was good enough
for a summer league.
JASON O’TOOLE is a Rhysling Award-nominated poet, musician, and former police detective. He is a member of the North Andover Poet Laureate Committee. He is the author of two poetry collections published by the Red Salon, Spear of Stars and Soulless Heavens and in several anthologies from presses including Twist in Time, Riza Press, and Moon Shadow Sanctuary. In the ’80s, he was the vocalist for the NYHC band Life’s Blood, and now collaborates on music and spoken word projects with Herr Lounge Corps and Alec K. Redfearn.