Baseball Poetry

In doing some research in Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, NJ, I stumbled across an article quoting this poem, titled “The Paterson Falls & Hinchliffe,” by Tara Betts:

“One of our first dates is the best memory/ I can cradle about Paterson, New Jersey./ He parked the car on the warm June night,…/ The Paterson falls’/ constant churn that bred silk factories gone./ I gasped because it looked like the battered/ cover of Williams’ Paterson on my crammed bookshelf, but this one roared a perpetual…/ As we walked away, I spotted the concrete wall with Greek athletes on tiles embedded near its top./ When I asked what is this abandoned place/ with a sign that reads Hinchliffe, you said/ it was a Negro League stadium./ I imagined Satchel Paige pitching and Minnie Minoso in his prime./ My quick squeeze on your arm/ and a smile was all I needed to convince you/ to climb through the folded back tear/ in the chain link fence with me. / I stared at the silent empty field around us. / New trees, slender and slightly taller than us,/ sprouted in the modest bleachers./ There’s history that I cannot write when decaying, forgotten places cling to the present./ There is a history that I thought we could write,/ but those early drafts were scrapped.”