April PAD (Poem-a-Day) Challenge: Day 25 “Tennis”

The prompt for Day 25 of the April PAD Challenge is “write a poem about a sport. Pick any sport you want. And yes, feel free to bend and stretch the rules as far as you wish.”

I chose tennis, the sport that destroyed the cartilage in my knees.

“Tennis”

Force does not originate within the arm
as it swings racquet toward ball, even
the tensed leg muscles springing into
the serve. It comes from within the
heart. Connection does not occur between
strings, ball, and opponent’s return. The
cheering or booing from the sides mean
nothing. Just the moment.

10 National Poetry Month Activities
April PAD Challenge: Day 1 “Scenes Shot in Super 8″
April PAD Challenge: Day 2 “Adobe Café”
April PAD Challenge: Day 3 “Confession Booth”
April PAD Challenge: Day 4 “100% Juice”
April PAD Challenge: Day 5 “Uncle Harry”
April PAD Challenge: Day 6 “Hide ‘n’ Seek”
April PAD Challenge: Day 7 “Political Discourse”
April PAD Challenge: Day 8 “Heart 2.0″
April PAD Challenge: Day 9 “Yoga Class”
April PAD Challenge: Day 10 “Holly Bushes”
April PAD Challenge: Day 11 “Spring”
April PAD Challenge: Day 12 “Something Wrong”
April PAD Challenge: Day 13 “Tough Luck”
April PAD Challenge: Day 14 “Sundays in Oklahoma”
April PAD Challenge: Day 15 “Persona”
April PAD Challenge: Day 16 “There’s Been a Mistake”
April PAD Challenge: Day 17 “To Boldly Go”
April PAD Challenge: Day 18 “Watermelon”
April PAD Challenge: Day 19 “Her Bra”
April PAD Challenge: Day 20 “Let’s Remain”
April PAD Challenge: Day 21 “Vast Universe”
April PAD Challenge: Day 22 “Judge Not”
April PAD Challenge: Day 23 “A Valediction Forbidding Morning”
April PAD Challenge: Day 24 “Memory”

April PAD (Poem-a-Day) Challenge: Day 16 “There’s Been a Mistake”

So on to Day 16, Monday’s poem. I’m determined to catch up. The prompt is “write a mixed up poem. I guess there are a few ways to come at this poem. Your narrator could have mixed feelings about something. Or a character could get “mixed up” in something. Or the poem could be about mixing up a drink. Or a mixtape. Or however you wish to mix this prompt/poem up.”

“There’s Been a Mistake”

I thought I’d be taller than this. A couple more
inches would do wonders for my serve. But tennis
abandoned me when she shredded my knees.
At least I have the backhand–cross court, down the
line.

10 National Poetry Month Activities
April PAD Challenge: Day 1 “Scenes Shot in Super 8″
April PAD Challenge: Day 2 “Adobe Café”
April PAD Challenge: Day 3 “Confession Booth”
April PAD Challenge: Day 4 “100% Juice”
April PAD Challenge: Day 5 “Uncle Harry”
April PAD Challenge: Day 6 “Hide ‘n’ Seek”
April PAD Challenge: Day 7 “Political Discourse”
April PAD Challenge: Day 8 “Heart 2.0″
April PAD Challenge: Day 9 “Yoga Class”
April PAD Challenge: Day 10 “Holly Bushes”
April PAD Challenge: Day 11 “Spring”
April PAD Challenge: Day 12 “Something Wrong”
April PAD Challenge: Day 13 “Tough Luck”
April PAD Challenge: Day 14 “Sundays in Oklahoma”
April PAD Challenge: Day 15 “Persona”

Writing: Equipment Matters

In addition to writing great poetry, mediocre prose, and clever essays, I play tennis. Skill is the most important need when playing the sport, of course, and this is built through a combination of natural talent and practice, but equipment is also important. Different playing styles benefit from different types of racquets and different types of and tensions of strings. I’m an all court player, which means I use a mix of groundstrokes from the baseline and serving and volleying. I was formerly more of a serve and volleyer, but more or less shredding the cartilage in my knees has made that style more difficult. I digress. My playing style requires a racquet that has good touch and doesn’t necessarily produce a lot of power (I do well enough at knocking the hell out of the ball), so I prefer the Prince Precision series of racquets, and I use synthetic gut strings (real cat gut strings don’t fit my vegetarian ethics very well) to enhance my feel of the ball further.

As vain as it sounds, the right equipment is important for writing, too. I cannot convince my mind to write a decent first draft on a computer (with the exceptions of academic essays and blog posts). When I write poetry, I have to write it out by hand, then I type it into my computer for editing and storage. For prose, I prefer a typewriter. Imagine your cliché image of an author with long beard, cigarettes, small desk, manual typewriter, and so on; that’s me, though my beard isn’t too long, yet and only contains a few grey hairs.

I carry a (vinyl-covered) Moleskin notebook with me everywhere I go for writing poetry and jotting down notes for other writing projects. It’s a perfect fit for me. It slides right into my coat pocket or rear jeans pocket. I also carry a black Pilot G2 ink pen because I like both the feel of writing with it and the look of the words on the page. Portability is essential. If I get an idea or have a moment of inspiration, I can take out my notebook and immediately write down my thoughts.

My four typewriters usually stay at home. I have a manual black Royal typewriter (1920s?), a faded lime green Olympia portable manual typewriter (1950s?), an Underwood early electric typewriter (1960s?) that’s enormous and doesn’t fully functions, and a 1980s electric typewriter (can’t remember the brand right now). There’s something wonderful, mystical even, about writing on these typewriters. And there’s the music of writing–tickity tickity tick ding schwoop tickity tickity tick ding…

I have nothing against computers. They definitely make the editing process and storage easier, but they just don’t have the same feel when writing.

What is your preferred writing equipment?