The Dreams That Cried
By Alberto Ríos
Things become other things, she said.
It's what's inside them, I guess.
When I was little I always heard about the onza in the mountains --
It was supposed to be a combination of a mountain lion and a jaguar,
Something like that, something scary.
Now there's the chupacabra, which is everywhere,
Sucking the blood out of goats, and maybe people.
Those were the big stories.
But there were little ones, too.
I think they were worse.
The stories about the niños de la tierra,
I remember them most because they were matter-of-fact,
Those little pink spider or beetle animals
People would find when they were digging holes.
Everybody used to say that if you hurt one
It would cry like a baby.
I think people thought this because they looked like babies --
You would never hold one but when you looked at them
They had that face, or what looked like a little face.
Maybe they weren't really animals, after all.
Maybe they were dreams,
Dreams but inside the ground instead of the mind.
Maybe, right there,
We could hear something from our other world.
"Alberto Ríos's new book, The Theater of Night, tells the life story of a couple, Clemente and Ventura, through a series of lyric poems," explains Robert Pinsky in this week's Poet's Choice. "Ríos creates the feeling of enchanted or intimate lore within a family: The material is precisely 'familiar' in that sense. But Ríos also evokes the mysterious and unexpected forces that dwell inside the familiar...in his poem 'The Dreams That Cried,' Ríos shows how elements as familiar as the human face, a baby's cry, animals and gardening can convey the charge of the uncanny."
The Spanish phrases, claim Pinsky, don't refer to anything exotic; the chupacabra here is a goatsucker, a nighthawk, not the exotic mythical creature from "El Mundo Gira" on The X-Files. "In such names, ordinary language, like poetry itself, speaks the voice of 'our other world.' The pronoun 'our' is particularly apt: These dream-feelings and muted voices are indeed ours. They belong to us and come from us," Pinsky writes.
I did stuff early in the day, and younger son had a soccer game which his team lost though they played well, but the major unforgettable activity was in the evening so I'll just babble about that. My sons won perfect attendance awards from Hebrew school, entitling them to two tickets apiece to a Frederick Keys game, plus younger son got an extra pair for Judaic Studies participation and we bought another pair so my parents and in-laws could all come. Then my parents decided to go to New York this weekend to see my sister's daughter's ballet recital (my mother having conveniently forgotten to put baseball -- not her favorite thing -- on the calendar). So we told the kids each to invite a friend. As it happened, neither of their best friends (one from Bangladesh, the other from Venezuela) had ever been to a baseball game, and we had perfect evening weather for it, high 60s and cool after a sweltering week.
Younger son's friend, whom I have written about here before, is a rather hyper child -- his stepsister ran away when her father married the boy's mother, there's a new baby in the house, and he definitely needs attention. He was extremely hyper on the way into the stadium, where we discovered that we were actually going to see 12 innings of baseball because the teams were finishing up the game from the night before that had been called on account of rain. One of the rabbis was there (the one who is doing older son's Bar Mitzvah, so it was great that he got to meet my in-laws, since I have to have the discussion with him about how things are going to work with non-Jewish relatives during the Bar Mitzvah). Anyway, when younger son's friend discovered that you're allowed to KEEP any ball you catch, he became determined to get one. He could have bought a souvenir baseball, but having spent all his money on the arcade, ice cream, cotton candy, a foam #1 finger, etc. -- we bought the hot dogs -- he needed to get one by other means. There's a big grassy field by the outfield on the other side of the foul line where kids often play catch and roll down the hill during a game, the kids were playing there, a foul ball came down...guess who ended up with it.
The other kids were very jealous, but distracted for awhile at the arcade, where younger son won a plastic sheep. (I should note that the kids probably watched fewer innings than they ignored while doing other things.) Then someone told them that you can sometimes find foul balls that have bounced over the wall around the side of the stadium, so they all raced around to do that. Son's friend managed to find THREE balls, to everyone's astonishment. And he wanted to keep all of them. Older son managed to convince lucky boy to give one to his friend who'd never seen a game before, and that friend managed to convince lucky boy to give another ball to younger son for inviting him to the game. Then older son sulked, as he was the only one with no ball, until he was given the muddiest and most shredded baseball ever pulled out of the muck behind a stadium. It was near that site that we watched the post-game fireworks, in the picnic field near the parking lot. Older son's friend thought the explosions were too loud but younger son's friend shrieked about how the fireworks were the BEST, even though we all almost got kicked out because he crossed the caution tape to look for MORE balls. He departed in the best mood ever and I would say his first baseball game was a rousing success. Moral: the Majors may be the Majors, but minor league baseball is in a class all of its own so far as entertainment goes. Particularly if you're with kids who don't particularly care that your team lost both games by embarrassing margins.
Son's friend's game ball as caught on the hillside when it went foul and his foam finger autographed by Keyote...
...the coyote mascot seen here dancing on the Keys' dugout.
Every time we see the Kinston Indians play, it seems, they have some player I like simply based on his name. Two summers ago it was Aubrey. This year it was...well, sort of a related reference to me. *g*
And after the game, the fireworks! We watched from near the parking lot to get a jump on traffic. Here is the scoreboard illuminated by the lights and smoke.
I suppose I should post some photos of actual baseball but I will do that some other time, as baseball was not always the primary focus for anyone in a stadium with a carousel, arcade, pina colada stand, etc. And I am way behind on comments, I know, and must catch up. Sunday we are going to the Washington Folk Festival so it probably won't be then!