Thursday, April 27, 2017


Ladies, listen up

This is not a poem
It’s a manifesto
One I hope you print and nail up on the
Entrance of your salle
Read it every time you enter
Review again on your way out

I see you
Rage against the normal vagaries of
Blame yourself for falling short of your own
Impossible ideals

I see you
Incriminate yourself
As lacking talent
Never working hard enough
Being just pain dumb

I see you
Lest your results not prove to
Spouse, partner, children, colleagues
That all that time was worth
The late nights, cold dinners,
Miles spent upon the road
Dollars spent on lessons and on gear
Plane fares, hotel rooms and registration
Co-pays to the doctor, trainer, therapist et al


Here’s my thesis:
You are heroes
Every one of you
Heroes—did you hear?
Not “heroines”—diminutives need not apply

You persevere through
Broken blades, bum knees, bad weather,
Clubmates who get better faster than they should
Teenagers who, now one year older, can’t be touched
Coaches who indulge their temper and their tongues
Podiums that stubbornly remain
Just of reach

I also see you
Fix the broken blade and bind the knee
Brave blizzards lest you miss one lesson
Cheer your teammates when inside you want to cry

Even after the worst practice
The most abysmal competition
You throw the stinking uniform into the wash and
Rise to do it all again

Next time the black dog tries to take you down
Next time you’re tempted to apologize
To anyone, for who you are and what you do
Next time you feel you have to justify the choices that you’ve made

In the face of all the crap thrown at you by the world

You persist

And all of us,
This league of super veterans
With sore joints, grey hair, and 
Badass attitudes
We’ve got your back

Friday, August 12, 2016


Some systems focus on the arm, wrist, fingers
Synched for elegant conclusions:
Coupe, glissade, a clever bind or crafty disengage

Some bang on speed and power
Bigger, badder, faster
Training youth to send
Feet flying down the strip

Our salle’s attention lies—well, somewhere in between

Below the waist, above the knees
To be precise—the buns, butt, tooshie, tuchus, derriere

You’d be amazed to learn the
 Numbered permutations for
The angle, depth and flexibility of
Glutei—both minimus and max

Are you squatting deep enough?
Is your tailbone scooping in, or out?
Are your hips, the muscled cradles of the bum
Loose enough to sway and boogie with the best?
Limbered up to launch a proper lunge?

Now you have the key decoding
Covert coaching signals from our staff
When next you see them stripside
Throwing opaque signals
seemingly to make us
Hula, samba, sashay on the piste
You'll know they're only trying to
help us land the touch we missed

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Rocketing awake
Cat nose on my face
Flashed with heat
Flush with irritation

Throw off the sheet
Ransack the drawers
Jam feet in sneaks
Bolt out the door

To find that

5 am is cool
and dry
Pale light balm to August eyes
Arpeggio-ed by birds
Blessedly bereft of
Cranky crowds

Sidewalk barren but for
Dog walker here
A fellow runner there
All with smiles for a member of the
Secret club of

"Attack of the Killer Badger" from
Magic Forest

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Suddenly, your wrist is
Your toe
an object of desire
Your knee--oh, show it to me,

Devoid of inhibitions
Untethered from the complex etiquette of
Who goes first
The nicities of foible versus forte
I will embark on licensed mischief
Revel in the freedom to
Do anything I want with my off hand

Blissfully oblivious

Ignorant of what I'm supposed to do
Free to be a newbie once again
Swanning in unrated to muck up the
Seeding of the pools
This should be...amusing

But--I have been warned--

Prepare for epic bruises

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Giving War

You gift me a
Well-considered bruise
Bestowed with grace and
Chased with chaste massage to
Mitigate the pain

I reciprocate by
Nearly taking out your knee
Formidable contusion

This pacific interchange, this
Yields dented masks, torn socks
--but rarely ends in stitches--

We're merely swapping marks of
Tangible affection
A catalog tattooed upon the hand and arm and leg
A testament to friendships sealed with
Just a little bit of blood

Saturday, December 13, 2014


I thought that when I leveled up
It would come because I'd gotten
Metamorphed into a higher state

But no, I checked--
I'm still only me

Ten toes, two feet
Nine knuckles and a
Fragile back
All essential traits are still intact:
Forever not too bright

If anything, grace came because of
What I lacked: concern for anything but
Getting through the day

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wait Test

Picking at the tape that’s
Fraying on the barrel of my blade

Tying and retying shoes

Resisting the compulsion to
Check Twitter, Facebook

Studying the divots of attack
Marbling the walls and floor

Netting flotsamed conversation
Washing through the hall

“…the worst thing you can do is
smile at the ref…”
“Stepping on the blade is cardable…I’m right?!?”
“…said Dude! You can’t put that in your mask…”

Trying very hard
Not to watch the newbies lurch and flail
Nor the long and lean and strong march stalking down the strip
Lest the images entangle in my hand, and blade

Trying simply to inhabit this
Lacuna in space and time
Between the flighted pools
Where I’m known only by the pseudonym on my lamé
When I have nothing I can do but

Appreciating boredom is a veteran’s grace