August 24, 2018

Michael Mark

GOLF WITH BOB

A romantic might see lovers’
footprints—two sets, stride by stride,
crisscrossing slopes from tree-sheltered
tee boxes in morning’s wet grass

before they suddenly part.
But that was just us, heading off
to find our drives, hit our irons—Nice one!
or Uh-oh! Then

the distinct steps blur, blotch, hurry
back to the other’s side, move greenward,
near enough so a detective or suspicious wife
could imagine hands were held.

We weren’t even good friends.
Our games were just well matched.
His power, my strategy. Monday
and Wednesday partners.

Now I play with whoever’s up for a game.
On the 14th hole I still look around, lose
focus, my drives wandering
into the tall magnolias

like Bob’s used to. We’d stop
and hunt through the small forest, musty
and thick with fallen leaves,
for as long as it took.

from Rattle #60, Summer 2018
Tribute to Athlete Poets

__________

Michael Mark: “I found a busted-up partial set of clubs in the dump behind where I grew up. I ended up playing on the high school golf team (borough champs), and for a semester in college—I wasn’t good enough to stay on the team. Later, I became the Match Play Champion at LaCosta Country Club. What I’m proud of, maybe as proud of as any accomplishment, is that I was behind in all nine matches in the Match Play contest—over twelve weeks, against serious players, some former professional athletes—and I beat them all. As for the connection to poetry: maybe the stillness of the body with the rhythm in the swing? Maybe: it’s okay to not be a natural at something but if you love it, do it. I’d bet it’s: ‘Find it in the dirt’—Ben Hogan.” (web)

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