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April 15, 2009

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when i was a kid, brian weber and i played tennis in the street. maybe that's
why i accept free verse poetry, unlike Robert Frost who likened it to "playing
tennis with the net down." net or not, we still had fun slapping those stale
balding balls around the unmarked asphalt beneath needle-dropping trees.
we became the champions of the day--Borg and McEnroe. he the flamboyant
swede, i the pouty american. we replayed entire Wimbledons in the street,
complete with cheering crowd sounds we made. once, we biked to the high
school courts and brought along my sister's battery-powered record player.
rackets got used as guitars. at 13, i took lessons from our next door neighbor--
one of the first african-american pros. for hours on end i'd pound balls against
the plywood wall in his garage while WLIR blasted the B-52s and Police in heavy
rotation. i scuffed the impeccable red clay of the country club where i lifeguarded
summers but for the most part tennis has always meant concrete public courts,
like the ones sarah and i jogged to this afternoon, where our balls mixed with
those of a mother and her young sons adjacent to us and no one kept score.