Tennis Poem Selects

Foot Faults: Tennis PoemsFoot Faults: Tennis Poems  by Roger Sedarat (David Robert Books, August 2016).



Saying Goodbye to my old Djokovic Shoes

One year and all front tread is gone.

I’ve washed the inserts. They still smell.

Since clay court matches, when I put them on

Red clouds rise up. My feet in hell

Of ripped out souls. (I’ve tried strong glue;

It doesn’t last). They lost their squeak

From footwork on hard courts. One shoe

Tongue’s frayed as if it tries to speak

But can’t. The Arabs have a word

For objects given character

By long term use. This loss must hurt

Because I know the wear and tear

Belongs to my long-blistered calloused feet

That suffer from so much painful defeat.


On Seeking Revenge in Intermediate Tennis Clinic

There was a Brit player named Neil

Who took me down 40 to nil.

He said I can’t hit,

So I called him a shit,

Then served at his balls till he kneeled.


Professional Regret

“I wish I would have been a tennis pro,”

My friend Paul tells me when we’re hitting balls.

“In mid-life crisis now, some things I know

I wish I would have been. A tennis pro

Lives on his past at country clubs as coach.”

With no retirement plan, I covet Paul’s.

“I wish I would have been a tennis pro,”

I tell my friend as we keep hitting balls.

When Gabriel Garcia Marquez played tennis…

the ball hung overhead in humid air,

his index finger directing flight

beyond tropical birds he knew by name,

over Macondo trees, their roots stretched

through centuries, winding like tendrils

of syntax across the rain forest

where ghosts of guerilla fighters machete

into sugarcane and wildflowers, a palette

of blood-syrup over crushed ice

at carnivals, children with tails swinging

from branches, their mouths stretching

down like the ball the old man smashes

open at last, sending a yellow army

of butterflies into the mountains,

an Aracataca sunset hatched

from the frenzied racket

in the author’s mind.


Amir one summer taught me follow through

By showing him my handle’s “W.”

That fall in an advanced adult ed clinic.

This old pro shot me down (burned out cynic).

Then in a winter class I took indoors

John showed me how to whack ground strokes with force.

The college kid that spring became the best.

He taught me more, while charging me much less.

Now my year round one’s meaner than them all.

He screams, “Hey Grandma, don’t just push the ball!”



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