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Chapter Three: The Great American Game
by Levi the Poet

Dear Diary, Grandfather's creaky as his front porch,
loads his shotgun beneath the awning, spittoon restless for rain, carpenter's chair against the whistling air.
Rocking, back and forth, rocking snap shot picture - worth it, just like the movies.
She said that he loved baseball, and James Earl Jones;
said that he's got god talking inside of his thoughts while he's rounding those bases on his way back home.
If you build it, they will come (and baby listens to what the Lord say).
But I've been getting pretty worn, building for nearly a decade.
In a perfect world we shouldn't have been allowed to lose sight of what it means to love wholly.
I've got a Polaroid hanging on my wall that a friend took of me and my angel.
I remember the day like it's something I can touch, but it's stuck in the square between the borders of the film,
and I can run my fingers over our faces, but I can't get back to the places we were.

You've got a pain deep in your bones, son.
It compels you forward like you're tied to a slave master's cruel hand, and it's the same pain that drives that oppressor's heart of stone, so you've grown to love the man.
You keep pouring yourself out, again and again, into legible lines through a crooked pen."
Yeah, it's painful, but it's familiar – so habit breeds comfort, and I don't know what I'd do without him.
So in the early morning, when you've fallen asleep in our home,
I drift back into the memories that I've claimed as my own, and wonder if tonight will be a night I'll hang on my wall like I did before we stopped taking photos,
out of the habit of being comfortable with not trying at all.
In a perfect world, we'll have albums labeled Seasons,
with chapter headings, and we'll staple them to the cork-board that hangs at the foot of the bed.
There's longevity in a memory spilt out in pen, and if a picture is worth a thousand words then I've written down every one of them.
I work hard, scarred, toil through that soil for the youth I see in my friends, but these journals are moments in time,
snapshots of our lives, and in retrospect, age is an overexposed photo that the memories can't mend.
I know my sweet seductress, and her name is Depression.
I wrote best beneath that demon's destructive oppression.
In those Polaroids, she drove the ink into the canvas like a slave beneath his master's cruel hand,
and I hated that whip but always wondered what I'd do without it, so I grew to love the man.
Oh, I wept for change!
I begged for movement and the good Lord, he answered my prayers,
but you don't know how to breathe easy when you let go of your habits, even if your comforts left you gasping for air.
Dear Time,

Grandfather's as creaky as his front porch, scent like oil in the gun barrel, dip-can kicked over the railing,
sandpaper hands stuck behind thumb tacks on my wall.
I've got an ache in my chest for every season I miss and it gets worse when the snow starts to fall.
There are butterflies alive in that couple's eyes a few years since forgotten by all, and sometimes, if the phone starts to ring, I can still hear their wings when you call.
But I begged for movement and I got what I asked for, and I can picture the answer like it came yesterday.
And in the land of the gods, I think that things are timeless, but we are still prone to decay.
You know I still lift up hope of certain smiles in those photos for us when I pray.
Time is a cruel lover, and she breaks her house apart at its bones.
You know comfort is no good reason for standing still, and idle hands build nothing that you can call your own.

Contributed by London S. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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