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Panama City, Florida

   Here is the nimbus
   and tempo of it all:
   Listen for whorl
   as it hits the ocean's mile markers,
   find the music of mid-morning,
   salsa brimming over

   Panama City,
   merengue humming
   in the shells on the beach.

   Think Munich 1972.
   Not terrorists or danke schon.
   Think shaggy, sable hair

   and streamed lines
   in the arms and mustache of Mark Spitz.
   Ease into the mantra of scripture

   or Hare Krishna,
   brace yourself for the stride
   of talisman and prophet.

   Keep an eye on the tow-headed ones
   behind you. They think
   they know Daltrey's refrain,

   but you are the one
   who won't get fooled again.
   As you feel the bike's canter,

   beware the mirage of skaters,
   the Lance Armstrong look-a-likes
   the ease in the Florida keys.

   And if you should come upon
   remnants of gator or live oak
   or allamanda, if you should skirt

   hurricane-downed power lines
   and inhale the nectar
   of bougainvillea

   or recall your son's faces
   as they neared the end
   of their 50-miler last summer

   you'll feel upwelling
   tap the last strains of glucose
   in your sinews, your wrists.

   Take those strands
   through the day's last light,
   beyond goos, headbands,

   and ocean's pummeling surf.
   You are spear or arrow
   in the palm's ratty quiver.

   You are Salazar and Bikila
   in the gum-eyed stretch,
   and when the earlobes go sallow,

   when the salt on your chin
   is more than mere crust,
   when your mind turns to Mud Lake,

   welcome the hallucinations
   and their burnings,
   hail mustard fever

   and the throat's
   white patches of thrush,
   praise Goethe

   at the 86th corner
   when he surprises you
   with some Cuban tones

   in a palm tree specter,
   Do not hurry,
   do not rest.
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Article Details
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Author:Bennion, Mark
Publication:Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 22, 2014
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