Tripped By Mentalities

.a decending of sorts.
.back to the farm.
.bit by reality.
.didn't bite back.

.a pleading of course.
.stacked in the barn.
.hit by finality.
.caught in the act.

.a year maybe more.
.since she was born.
.lit by mortality.
.checked the facts.

.a cleansing endorsed.
.the maps been torn.
.tripped by mentalities.
.got off track.

.a pretending by choice.
.hacked and harmed.
.hid from neutrality.
.refused to take sides.

.a resending of noise.
.sound the alarm.
.content with my melody.
.nothing to hide.



Five Hour Window

     The wreckage of KOtC4 is just being swept off the pavement.  Traffic was jammed for miles.  But no one gets through before the King.  Re-introducing--King The Todd.  In a test of resolve, faith, and understanding, King The Todd slid the best on the wet surface, King The Todd ignored the wind and hit the most perfect shots, King The Todd broke the will of even the finest competitors.  Cushman The Kid, wanted another shot at him from the morning session but had his own battle in the Duke division, where the tournament administrator, and co-founder of the Isner Scoring Method, became a royal.  That's right, Duke Keck.  The Prince was claimed by the mysterious Mir sub, Victor Coronado.  A seemingly proud man, he'll be an honorable Prince, but he clearly has his eye on the throne.  Prince Coronado will get his chance at King The Todd in the summer KOtC5.  Bulldog Bobby saw his game firsthand as he clawed his way into the Prince division.  His demo days are over.   Vito Nyguyn claimed the Earl from Leo Escario after an epic, and historic, 20 game winner take all mahut.  The Royal Escario no more, his familiar cackle and grit, his marathonian conditioning.  Nope, it's Vito The Earl.  This royal court, in perhaps the finest field ever assembled, on perhaps the severest court conditions possible, endured.  They showed.  King The Todd, Prince Victor Coronado, Duke Keck, and Vito The Earl.  They are royal.

     The early morning hour was dreary, Keck ignoring forecasters predicting 100% chance of rain and trusting Delkus, who foresaw a 5 hour window of dry conditions weirdly aligned directly with our tournament time frame.  All the players must have thought Keck mad when he sent out the prearranged, early morning green light.  A pouring rain was covering the whole metroplex at that point. Frank Friday roddicked, which seemed a reasonable thing to do, but surprising from him.  He was the only one.  Player by player they showed, leery to be sure, but inspired by the faith of the tournament administrator.  When King James instructed everyone to ditch the squeegees and get used to the footing, KOtC4 was bonafide.  The overcast skies lit a bit, the wind picked up and partially dried the courts.  The rain had stopped.  There was trepidation, there was doubt, there was suggestions, there was anxiety.  Puddles were still all over, it was slick!  Reports of massive USTA event cancellations and alterations only added to the whispers and mumbling.  Keck understanding the significance of the moment, called the group together, explained the format for the benefit of new players, and officially started the morning session of KOtC4.  Rain came and went a few times, but progressively the weather improved.  The sun even peeked though briefly.  It was almost muggy as the players shed the pullovers and got down to business.

     Because my morning group had an unsubbed roddick, I had a chance to check out the early action.  Usually, idle time is very minimal during the event, but unavoidable in this scenario.  The players were clearly adjusting to the footing.  Deliberate ground strokes and patient footwork overcame the conditions and points were being wildly contested.  King James was playing Sellers, who had his menacing dog chained to the net post.  King James was dominating, but Sellers was scrappy and took a game as I watched.  He got to everything and kept the pressure on with slicing shots of varying distance.  His dog growled and whined.  King James seemed vulnerable, perhaps a foreshadowing of the events to follow in the afternoon King Division.  New player JD Miles took King James down 6-4 in the afternoon before calling it a day at 1-6 in his mahut with King The Todd.  He then sped off in his sports car, cursing at the King and promising revenge.  New player Huffman rounded out the King Division in the finest field ever assembled for the format.  Incredibly, he went off to play more tennis, indoors of course, after KOtC.  He expressed shock at the 5 hour window.  Later, at the post tournament drinking table, Sellers had incorporated Isner terminology with complete understanding, commoner James predicted we burned 5000 calories, and Duke Keck continued to preach and explain the benefits of the format.  Sellers even had suggestions for improvement.  Almost Prince Bobby moved slower after some idle time and my back and plantar fascia needed a hot tub.  King The Todd, on his own, implemented the even game changeover.  A kaizenian spirit.  He'll go to the Southern Hemisphere early next year and learn from Australians and New Zealanders.  He will leave them with well wishes and peace.  A King for the good times.

   Due to the Frank Friday roddick, my morning group only had 3 players.  The flexibility of the format automatically adjusts to this eventuality by not sending anyone to fight for the Earl in the afternoon.  I was grouped with two former college players, Kirsch and Huffman.  Both new to the format, I felt an obligation to explain some of the nuances and benefits.  They looked at me somewhat strangely, but I knew they would know later.  It must be experienced for true understanding.  I went 3-7 against both. The huge German Kirsch hitting backhands from extreme angles and the relentless Huffman hitting nonreturnable serves.  His game was too much for Kirsch too as he destroyed him 8-2.  As they were playing each other I asked the score.  "0-6," bellowed Kirsch as he pointed at Huffman.  They looked at me strangely again as I explained the moulette.  To remind:  moulette is the French word for skunk and is incorporated as ISM terminology in honor of the Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, one of the survivors of the incredible 2010 Wimbledon match that went on for days, when the American John Isner finally won the 5th set 70-68.  Overall, I was pleased with my play and understood my place in the tennis galaxy. The Duke was highly contested.  Up 4-1 on Joe Vita, he came back and been me 6-4 in our mahut.  I fell apart after he complimented my play.  Keck, noticeably motivated, took me down 7-3 and Cushman The Kid made me feel my age in front of his mom.  Keck's destruction of Joe and the Kid made it official--Keck was royal.  His early morning leadership and optimism only solidified his worthiness.  As he sat drinking Newcastles at the post tournament gathering he was beaming.  By that time the skies released the promised heavy rain.  It was like God had affirmed our influence on the tennis culture.  First time players were amazed.  And understood.  Mardy Feldman, who roddicked for unavoidable reasons, had clearly succumbed to the pressure of USTA sanctioned play. But 'cancelled play due to the treat of rain' was what he got.  His feeble last minute offer to step in for Frank Friday was too late. 



Styrofoam, styrofoam, all over my home.
All I've ever known, styrofoam, styrofoam.

Parking lot, parking lot, gonna come to a stop.
Might like it or not, parking lot, parking lot.

New York nights, New York nights, think we just might.
Get on the plan and fly, New York nights, New York nights.

Love is true, love is true, what you gonna do.
The cure for my blues, love is true, love is true.

Styrofoam, styrofoam, don't wanna be alone.
You'll find me at my home, styrofoam, styrofoam.


Heavy Air

   Being put in charge of trophies for King Of the Court 4 is a massive responsibility and a massive challenge.  Previously, the standard had been raised and the trophies I devised for KOtC1 seemed inadequate.  Keck told me his expectations were high and that I must deliver.  Like the future of the tournament, and possibly the sport of tennis, was at stake.  I felt the full weight of his trust and finally settled on my plan.  Possibly the most coveted, certainly the most valuable, and absolutely appropriate.  Their unveiling at the check in card table will inspire the field.  The best field to date.  16 players ready and committed.  2 Isner round robin sessions, 6 opponents each, 60 total games each.  For the tournament, 96 total mahuts, 960 total games, a King, a Prince, a Duke, and an Earl.  All in about 5 hours.  The trophies must be nice and significant, and will be.
     Do not envy Keck.  Yes, he is an incredible tennis artist.  Yes, he knows Billie Jean King.  Yes, he is a metal head.  Yes, he no longer has to be a cowboy fan.  But save your envy.  Keck is in charge of assessing weather conditions for KOtC4, and will ultimately decide to postpone or play through the elements.  It is 6:30 am now.  Surely he is up, walking the streets of his neighborhood, kicking the pavement with his backup pair of tennis shoes, listening for the right squeak.  It is a huge burden and the ramifications of his actions will reverberate and reverberate.  The second guessers.  The know it alls.  The Delkus wanna Bes.  He will make the right call, either way, after anguish and woe.  In this he must be trusted, not envied.
     Overcoming the usual dropouts, we will move forward.  An impressive self replacement culture has evolved.  The Todd's brother, Mardy, and Mir both getting subs when unavoidable events required them to roddick.  The kid from last year replaced by a new kid.  Organic ethics are developing.  Keck's communication processes, the familiar "Mahut!" as the server begins each mahut, the determination to continuously adjust the format.  This year we could try the even game changeover.  Or possibly the 5 game changeover.  Talk of a royal doubles finale mahut pitting the King and Earl vs. the Prince and Duke is likely too ambitious.  The crowds would love it, but the players might revolt.  Best to keep the focus on the tennis, not the crowds.
     The mist is covering everything.  It is strangely muggy.  Steady rains and lightening are a 100% certainty if weather professionals are believed.  Clouds and fog of pure vapor are all over as the sun is giving glow to the overcast sky.  Heavy air.  It will be a tough call for Keck, but I wanna slide like Novak, I wanna serve the spitball, I wanna fight like Isner, I wanna be the King!  In truth, I'd be thrilled to be the Duke and proud to be the Earl.  Just wanna be a royal.


Hang On The Vowels

...looking out for some meteorites...in the northeastern sky...early birds still in the nest...feathers wrapped tightly...almost made a mockery of the whole situation...unreportable problems of rationing and calculation errors...add up the numbers, you get what you get...emotional meldowns and claims of insanity...physical wreckage of the painful kind...the tv tube has gone lame...they are all flat and aware of time...its constant beat...the deep bass like your family...the parade of backup singers...the keys put the squeeze on my knees...and the lead like a warrior...keeping rhythm and framing the song...stories of facts and fiction...hang on the vowels...


Combined With Taste

...we don't come up with this...true art us not from us...melody is revealed...in the blank stare humming...in the tapping and the ticking...the whole world moves in 4.4 time for many...for others silence is the preferred noise...moderate indulgences combined with taste...which is from us and easily misapplied...like an instrument...we are to be used...worn out and discarded...but that is for later...now we are being calibrated constantly...inundated with inspiration...tugged at with incredible persistence...made sick for resisting....made alive for allowing...this is for nothing...it is for someone else...but it is not from me...


Be Back Directly

She's gone mad on the live wire.
You are welcome gentlemen.
This one ain't ready.

Only the broken can continue.
The perfect are too frail.
Darts for eyeballs.

Sure enough it worked out.
It always does.
In some way or another.

I'll be back directly.
Gonna drive the south field.
Check on the fence wire.

Need to get the powder out.
Those animals getting eat up.
Damn flies.

Wildcats growling for real.
Devious intentions.
Thirsty and ready.


Big Sun

It's a big sun this morning.
Her heart toubled and burning.
It's alright.  Honey it's alright.
Got dropped in a spot.
World got rocked.
Truth is the only clarity.


The Wilson Hope

    The winds blow wild in Wylie.  Always.  The 4 courts are set on a hill, enclosed by a single fence.  One side has no windscreens and the ones loosely attached along the remaining sides hiss and howl when it gets breezy.  Halfway between Rockwall and McKinney it's proximity was ideal for a Saturday morning Isner Roundrobin.  Joe was already there when Keck and I drove up around 7:45 am.  Bobby arrived a bit later and we got loose.  Because we knew 40 games awaited us, the warm up was brief and we spun racquets quickly.  2 up, 2 down and the pairings were clear.  Keck and I, Joe and Bobby.  The format calls for a 10 game mahut against each player, with #1 and #4 playing #2 and #3 in a 10 game doubles mahut to finish it off.  The first 30 games replicates a morning or afternoon KOtC session.

     Predictably, Keck took first.  Bobby and I battled for #2 and at deuce in the final game of our mahut, our 30th game of the morning,  it was still undecided.  Exhausted, I fought off the swirling winds, kept my toss low, and served it out.  Bulldog Bobby is always tough.  Our 5-5 finish left him #3 after Keck destroyed Joe 9-1.  Despite Joe's 6-4 win over Bobby and a never say die 4-6 loss to me, his final mahut destined him to #4. My Wilson Hope racquet was wobbling at the handle.  It's bent frame was noticeably warping the head.  Factory strings, strung at about 51 it seemed.  I had played great with this racquet and was reluctant to make a change.  Two of my racquets are getting fresh strings for KOtC, but for now, I was playing confident with the white and pink Hope.  They'll cure that cancer one day.  For now, keep on walking across the city.  Keep on being pink.  Joe was blasting forehands, mostly out, Keck was hanging in every point and keeping the pressure on.  His intolerance and disgust of mistakes is a powerful weapon.  Bobby has really gotten to another level.  His results are clear.  My serve was maddening all day but eventually put me at #2.  Double fault mumbling.  The unkind tape.  Bobby and I tied Joe and Keck 5-5 in doubles, with every point contested to the maximum.  Thought about the Lone Survivor movie, the true story of 4 Navy Seals in Afghanistan.  Markey Mark stars in it.  Incredible story of people who always see a way to win. Serving, but down 1-3, 15-40 to Bobby, I thought of them.  We changed over at 2-3.  Only one survived.  Remember them on Veterans Day.  11/11.  God's Will, amen.


Big Moon

.big moon tonight.
.thousands and thousands of human hours.
.idling slowly.
.radio updates on the sound waves.
.tales of fish tails and sirens.
.tracking numbers and lies.



.lets hear the whole story.
.skip that boring part.
.perfect detail.
.refinement can destroy.
.and it can enhance.
.a true art it is.
.speak deliberately.
.mainly not to spit.
.walk with a loose and limber gait.
.keep swimming against the waves.
.the crowd should never be followed.
.almost never.
.my patience is lacking.
.my conclusions are wicked.
.my temper gets riled from time to time.
.usually, I contain.
.absence makes the heart more real.
.even an hour or day.
.something supernatural is happening.
.bread and water and body and blood.
.forgiveness can be asked for.
.and is given.
.the truth lies in what's been done.
.it is the truth for a reason.
.it is true.
.we don't have to save ourselves.
.sweet Jesus!!
.thanks God.


Hog Killing Weather


Pick out about five fat ones.
The air is getting cold.
Hog killing weather.
Offer them a handful of corn.
22 between the eyes.
Slice the throat, bleed em out.
Shave the hairs, down to the tail.
Toss the guts aside.
Skin the skin, leak the lard.
Hanging in the trees.
Get some hams, keep the ribs.
The rest is sausage.
If you got the right recipe.
Red pepper, sage, and garlic.
Give the head to the help.
Keep the toungue and some brains for mawmaw.
She went through the Great Depression, ya know.
Bacon is just too much trouble.
Cracklings are a real treat.
Cover up that meat in salt, cure it up.
Rent some freezer space in town.
It's cold out today.
Getting to be hog killing weather.