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“It is yearning that makes the heart deep.”


Starting in first grade, my younger brother played little league baseball. His team was the Reds. I did not play little league baseball. It was not offered to girls, not optional, not done. I remember being very bored at the games, but I entertained myself by picking hardened chewing gum off the bottoms of the bleachers and attempting to soften it with various brands of soda. It was a magical world under there in the dust. I would also roam the fields with exciting, nameless girls, sisters of other players. We might have been happier playing in the game, but we didn’t know that, or really even care.

I have two friends from California, women who grew up in Los Angeles in the seventies. They both played little league baseball there, side-by-side with boys. They are proud of this and they should be. Neither one of these friends wears makeup on a day-to-day basis, if ever. They both have careers.

About ten years ago, I read about a female poet in a suburban newspaper. This poet was prolific, never lazy, always writing her poems and getting them published everywhere possible. She was rather well known for this reason. I got the distinct impression that the person who wrote the article, and the poetry-reading populace by extension, didn’t think the woman’s poems were very good. She had distinguished herself with the sheer volume of her output. According to the article, the poet’s boyfriend had a government job and he commuted into DC. The poet lived out in the wherever suburbs and did her thing. Her boyfriend paid the bills.

For some reason I always remember that detail about the commuting boyfriend, and the image of the lady poet in fuzzy socks curled up in her condo with a cat and a typewriter. It is stuck in my brain with the hardened gum on the bottom of the bleachers.

Go get ’em girls.
Do your best. Go out there, and cover your chest.



film clip is from That Hamilton Woman, 1941.