it’d been years since
gut stringed rackets
escaped from dust,
garage walls, bags,
shadows and frames.
they’d been await
with mold, dead balls, cobwebs,
headbands and rosin bag;
a broken baseball bat
or two as well between dark studs.
Taquah pointed his beer at them
and asked with wide smile,
“think you’ll do that anytime soon,
jimi ray?” I shhhhsssshed
and waved them goodbye grinning.
“we could use them like snowshoes”,
Taq laughed. I wondered what he meant
as he said, “heyo kid, bring one of those rackets
tomorrow to Sebastians cause I’m playing pool
til midnight and we could go fishing after at a secret spot.”
next night moon was smiling and Taq was winning
making the balls disappear like serial deja vu
with a rocky mountain soda held high in greeting,
“jimi ray did you bring that shoeshoe?””
as the eight ball went into hiding.
shook my head and waved at Joel and cocktail girl
and the rest of the room for good measure.
“Hey, do us a favor and get Taq outa here,
nobody else has a chance to win” as Taq tipped rockies dry.
“Ray, we’re burnin’ moon”, Taq said as he beckoned.
guerneville, monte rio, villa grande
then right on the road to cazadero
without a world until Taq said, “bats too “.
“I’ll show you how to get bats with ’em
next week, on the hill behind Walt’s barn.”
I didn’t have a clue, and wondered
about the too and what it meant
about tonight, but what the heck,
I liked surprizes.
we parked the willys on austin creek.
Taq walked with that sliding gait
an occassional burp was all, no footsteps
sounds just burps and chuckles.
we neared a place where creek got louder
carrying tennis racket and wonder.
the falls fell silver through
rocks as smooth as the night air;
as the first one jumped I did too.
Taq laughed and shook his head said,
“just steelies ray, and moon”.
“you only get one, so pick real good,
watch exactly what I do”. the second one
he served midflight into dark waiting ferns
more push than whallop with a laugh
as he followed through.
“now we ain’t got all night, so hurry up
I need another coors or two.”
So swung I at the third one with same swing
I’d seen. into burlap sack the rainbows went
after love tap and moonbeams. it felt like church.
“we used snowshoes in alaska, ray, but these
rackets do just fine”, as a new coors sighed.
“I’m outa mice, but my king eats bats,
he won’t mind; the thing about bats is
that you have’ta hit them from behind”.
he was right, a couple nights later
flying mice fell from strings
of silent rackets. they fell stunned
and then squeaked in burlap until
swallowed whole by slithering california king.