Steve Tills

from: Rugh Stuff

The trainwreck dog lent me
off the bottom of her hosel
packed in clay feats


Golf is several games of some

Fools for illusion and a selection
of stix laid out, end
over end by, bye, (in the grip of)
these pools of perfection, the knot
in everything until nothing's
the score that adds up

over 'nd over, odd collection of clumps
in the mixed baggage, the fixed
delusions of manure, the fat split second
chants for par done, cries from the prefect's lie,
the perfect knife, the bleeding
and dirigible walk in the park,

four hour sot for high
flawless pause
                     at the flop
of a once grounded life.

For hours short of a perfect
sky, for years unescorted
by a well-rounded wife,

fort built by boy
cloistered in stances,

a foot in the cave
back turned to glances, a hack
of the true san-s-lots
future romances,
"If everything's perfect, then nothing's
the impact when shadows try


The feathery,
                             the rubber
and fluffed and shied and sklentit

The smooth surface hacked,
then hammered,
no longer fit for play

though there had been no breach
between him and old Tom Morris

The hard ball
was not without defects

and we cut every one of them.
Like a shovel in 6-below,
the baffing spoon,
                              then the sand
between teeth where once were grooves
delicate if not intimate

not this uncouthness, crude,
and unfinished: "As good
as you are
and as bad as I am
I'm . . . " You're Stetson,
that's who you are and


The high
chair along the beach
bordering Seven
can't guard you
anymore against drowning
in the cool blue Pacific

What the hey;
it had a smile in it anyway.

"What's another Pebble
in the sand?" they asked.
"Several million,
prime sand, the cost
of wind, elements, memory."


Not a hit parade trudging after
the chain-
                  smoked drives, a moot
swing hard-
ly propelled by gût graces;
and Match play or flail away at chips
shouldered on smothered and gutteral
perches, to back a habit at the throat
of prone notions.
"Yes, this is the Middlecoff
pause, but it's not on top; you neither
be gin nor ply tonics; you're guilty as sin
and your joys were ironic."

Steve Tills edits and publishes theenk Books and the journal Black Spring. Poems from his Helen Keller series have been published in chapbook edition recently by Furniture Press. His book Behave, Rant 66 came out in 2005, published by Richard Denner’s dPress Books, and his book of “golf pomes,” Rugh Stuff, from which the above pieces are taken, is forthcoming from theenk Books.

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