“CLEVELAND SCORES EARLY”
original artwork by Justin Jackley
I’ve always had respect for sports fans who, year after year, continue to support teams that are fated to disappoint them. It’s funny to watch, here in San Antonio, the fair-weather Spurs fans get onboard once the team gets in the playoffs. But what about fans of, say, the Detroit Lions, The Pittsburgh Pirates, the Chicago Cubs (most of the time), or the University of North Texas ‘Mean Green.’ Teams that rarely if ever have a shining moment, and if they do have a moment or two, never build it into anything worthwhile? Presently, the Pittsburgh Pirates are living out this anti-dream. As they lost 0-20 the other day, I was wondering what kind of devotion kept people coming to the games, paying high parking prices, shelling out for tickets and overpriced hotdogs and beer, and taking the time to actually follow the season. It’s a fascinating combination of loyalty and masochism, and I think it’s admirable (I have never given up on North Texas, even when they were ranked 120 out of 120 NCAA teams by Rivals.com two years ago).
The 1974 Cleveland Indians were not on the level of today’s Pirates—-who is?—but they were not an award-winning team and often found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. CLEVELAND SCORES EARLY is the story of a month-and-a-half of a high school sophomore’s devotion to and continuous disappointment by the 1974 Indians. But it’s also a wonderful window into the early 1970’s, into local Cleveland culture, into the teenage mind and spirit, and into the absurdist world of local sports promotion in the age before slick PR films and the like. One can still find this charm in minor-league sports today, but it’s long gone from professional sports and its overpaid and over-analyzed diva players and coaches.
CLEVELAND SCORES EARLY (KSE #162) is the new chapbook from Cleveland poet MICHAEL CERAOLO. He published another excellent Cleveland-specific chapbook with KSE a few years ago, MORE EUCLID CREEK (KSE #53), which was singled out for praise in a piece on KSE in Arthur Magazine. He’s also the author of CLEVELAND HAIKU (Green Panda Press), EUCLID CREEK (Deep Cleveland Press), and the ongoing AMERICAN CANTOS series. Although part of the exciting Cleveland literary community, Michael is very much an independent literary artist, with a unique and instantly recognizable style, and for many years he’s been doing important and culturally significant work, much of it rooted in the great city of Cleveland, his own “postage stamp of soil” (Faulkner’s phrase) that he always makes universal.
CLEVELAND SCORES EARLY—-which also features original front and back cover art by Austin artist Justin Jackley (who’s also done poetry book covers for A.J. Kaufmann, Michael Layne Heath, and Bill Shute)—-captures the enthusiasm, the naivete, the heartbreak, and the unbroken spirit of the great American working-class sports fan who keeps these bloated organizations alive but never gets his/her due. I’ve spent many an afternoon/evening listening to baseball on the radio (which, Michael agrees, is the best way, short of being there, of experiencing baseball), mostly to losing teams, and Michael Ceraolo has created a unique work here that manages to nail the real pre-internet, pre cable-TV America. The 70’s seemed so advanced at the time…my, how we were wrong!
KSE #162 is now available for ordering. It’s a hand-assembled, hand-numbered edition of 53 copies.
Cost is $4.00 each or 3 for $10.00 (only one copy of any book per customer) postpaid in the USA. Send a check (or well-concealed cash) made payable to Bill Shute, 14080 Nacogdoches Rd. #350, San Antonio, Texas, 78247. OR chapbooks are available to non-US readers DIRECT FROM KSE postpaid for only $5 each. Overseas orders should write to django5722 (at) yahoo (dot) com and request a paypal invoice for whatever you’d like. You’ll save money that way!
OTHER CHAPBOOKS NOW AVAILABLE:
#163, BILL SHUTE, “deep focus” (sound library series, volume 54) ;
#160, JOHN SWEET, “this moment, reflected in ice” ;
#161, BILL SHUTE, “lament for the living: Chet Baker’s Final Session” (sound library series, volume 53) ;
#158, ZACHARY C. BUSH, “is this deformed?” ;
#155, JIM D. DEUCHARS, “monongahela abstract construct” ;
#156, BILL SHUTE, “the mosquitoes of La Marque” (sound library series, volume 50) ;
#152, K.M. DERSLEY, “many septembers” ;
#154, A.J. KAUFMANN, “vagabond vacancy” ;
#150, MICHAEL LAYNE HEATH, “loons of a dogman” (sound library series, volume 48) ;
#151, A. J. KAUFMANN & BILL SHUTE, “twombly’s siracusa” (inspired by the work of Cy Twombly) ;
#148, MISTI RAINWATER-LITES, “vegas the hard way” ;
#146, MK CHAVEZ & MIRA HORVICH, “pinnacle” ;
#144, ZACHARY C. BUSH, “spin” .
Questions? Write to django5722 (at) yahoo (dot) com . Thanks for your support!
Don’t miss the write-up on Kendra Steiner Editions in the January 2010 issue of THE WIRE (UK).