Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Elixir by Joseph DiLella

The Elixir
by Joseph DiLella

The straw that stirred the drink

Reggie called himself

after three swings

produced three consecutive homeruns

and a New York state of mind

when Yankee pinstripes meant the world

to America in the late 70's

as gasoline prices rose to 86 cents a gallon

and the Iran-U.S. hostage crisis

led front-page headlines.

Thirty years later,

after the Twin Towers fall

led to the Iraqi-US war

and gas prices reached four dollars,

the cocktail of choice in baseball

was HGH, androstanedione and mestanolone.

Syringes replaced pills

creating Popeye-like pop

propelling towering homeruns and TV ratings

through the roof

before Congressional hearings on C-Span

with men of lost-youth in three piece suits

who pointed their boney little fingers,

accusing their heroes of leading the nation's children

astray with Herculean lies.

Mark and Sammy - the ones who brought baseball back

from extinction after the strike year,

asked to move forward with their lives

or claimed lack of

language proficiency.

to refute such claims

Five year later,

Roger's CY Young indignation

and misremembered statements

further sullied his reputation.


Barry, the reigning homerun king,

awaits a federal trial

without a clear conscience.

Alex, his heir-apparent,

public defense

of youthfulness and stupidity

has not played well in the media

as lie upon lie piles higher and deeper

every time he opens his mouth.

San Diego Padre fans will never forget

Ken Caminiti - 1998 National League MVP,

who admitted guilt

to Sports Illustrated

of steroid abuse in 2002

just three years before dying of a heart attack

from an overdose in a friend's apartment.

Alan Wiggins, the speeder and table-setter

who led his Friar's '84 team to the World Series

succumbed to complication from full-blown AIDS

- the first reported professional baseball player

to die from the illness -

contracted from contaminated needles

only seven years later.

New Yorkers' Giambi and Pettite

told the truth about their lies,

when called on them,

then humbly,

continued to play

with lingering injuries and pain

but without public scorn.

In 2009, the bigger question still remains:

If the MLB union forbids public disclosure of player's tests

for stimulants, steroids and hallucinogens

which new designer drug of choice

or mixed drink

of illegal and deadly stimulants and growth hormones

will be the next breakfast of champions

of men who continue to refuse to be role models

for the next generation?

Author bio:

Joseph is a fifth-year Assistant Professor of TESOL and Bilingual Education at a small state school in New Mexico. In his spare time, he writes short stories and poetry - a craft he loves spending time on between teaching and other academic chores. Closing in on seventy publications in the past three years alone, you may find Joseph's work on Mad Swirl, Static Movement, The Battered Suitcase, Golden Visions, Every Day Poets, Bewildering Stories, Calliope Nerve, and of course, Clockwise Cat.

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