where basketball meets art…

“you can call me anything”
he said with the kindest of smiles

 we were in rosy’s studio
 he was playing the guitar
 and i was seeking refuge

 it had been an exciting week
my first
as the pfister’s narrator
there was orientation 
a video shoot
a trip to the indian grocery store
and keys to the kingdom

they were an unlikely duo
talking blues and art
but her spirit and his
danced in a kind of rhythm 

“Nina.” Original art by Rosy Petri, the current Artist-in-Residence

he had already fallen in love with her art, 
the portraits of jimi, nina, and the men and women of the negro league
just as they did back then,
they deserved to be seen
and to be heard

so thinking out loud and
holding rosy’s guitar
he made the call
not for himself
but for them,
the men and women of the negro league
and rosy, the artist who gave them a voice

in the lobby
we saw each other
i was at the bar
talking to friends who had stopped in for happy hour
under his arm was a carefully wrapped package
i knew it was one of rosy’s
“who are you taking home?” i asked
“jimi” he said
with a familiar smile 
and a twinkle in his eye

“Jimi.” Original art by Rosy Petri, the current Artist-in-Residence

he was looking for the lobby lounge piano player
he knows his history
sings his praises
and tells me i should know him

barb, my friend, asks him about the new stadium
and he reminisced about the old 
it was game 6, two years ago
the bucks came from behind
and the rafters shook

a week later
the series was tied 2-2
it was a few hours before the start of game 5
and we once again found ourselves in rosy’s studio
i was in a panic
my car had been towed
with all of my belongings
my laptop
my wallet
my calendar
my journals
my everything
and my big event was just about to begin

but he,
he was calm,
as if he did not have a care in the world
as if he were home
he had found his way to the guitar again
and i was sipping whiskey and frantically rubbing away the hot pink lipstick (or was it red?)
i had childishly put on in the hopes it would make everything better

as i rubbed and sipped 
i looked over at him
finding his center in the notes
then he stood to say his goodbye
with another “rosy original,”
he made his way to the door

and just on the edge of in,
he turned to me and said “a few months ago i was blessed with divine intervention,
which i am now passing on to you”
and with that, he gave me a warm embrace
and rosy too

as he made his way out into the sunset to coach game 5
i smiled at rosy and she at me

there we were 
in her artist’s studio
where basketball meets art 
and art meets storytelling

where people are more than who they are 
and the space between us is not as it seems 
and where “blessings from the universe” come from the most unlikely 
and lovely of places 

“The Men & Women of the Negro League.” Original art by Rosy Petri, the current Artist-in-Residence