Saturday, December 27, 2008


Wild, tangled hair slopping over jacket’s edge
Chapped skin, cracked feet, broken nails
Mortifying bruises on the hand, arm, thigh
Badges of honor
My mum would be appalled

Small actions ring deep, filling up my soul:
• Snug wrap of cuff around my wrist
• Snick of plug in socket
• Settling of chin in mask
• Slap of hand on thigh


When did sweat become the smell of happiness?


My leg throbs, a warm and gentle ache
Reassurance—if that’s the worst, then all is well


Driving home
A wordless rumination on
What worked and did not work
Water for the whetstone
Honing practice

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Tallying accounts
Inventory of my cluttered poverty
I total up and find

I’ve got zip…a blank portfolio of skills

I accept, reluctantly,
(After many scribbled failures to recalculate my net)
         I know nothing
                    Manage nothing
                           Control even less
Not mind, body, soul or destination

An empty purse, indeed

And so I wait for charity
A simple dispensation that
Costs nothing, empties no one else’s pocket
Because I cannot purchase, earn, demand or wrestle from the world
Enough to meet my basic needs:

Insight, patience and perception
          Ability to act on what I see
                      The loosening of fear, unleashing humor, licensing it to bloom
          The trust to let my intuition guide my hand
Uncomplicated, priceless qualities that elude my grasp

Meanwhile, I’m not exactly unemployed
I put in my time
Faithful practice, dedicated work
Even while I know
They barely pay the rent
They won’t lift me higher up on Maslow’s scale

So here I sit
Hands resting loosely on my knees
Palms up, open in petition
Letting go of expectations

It may be some time

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dead Last

Someone has to be there
Anchoring the bottom of the list
The benthic depth against which
Others mark their prowess

But for it to be me!

My pride wilts
I sink into my cold and smelly sweats
Flip the hood up on my jacket
Slink from the soprano gaggle clustered at the board
Hope to be unnoticed and unknown

My ego, valiant even in retreat
Advances explanations:
“I was working on my form
In disciplined and lofty disregard
Of mere results”


The video, unversed in social graces,
coldly offers up the stark
Uncompromising truth

I stink

The adjectives abound
Where I seek grace, power
Confidence and clever phrase
The cold screen offers:
Panicked, awkward, slow
Flat-footed, dazed and overmatched
Ever one full beat behind

Packing up my fancy blades
Lovely in their simple, focused forms
(Designed to do one thing, and do it well)
Apologizing for the shame I bring to them
That would be brave, victorious and proud
In better hands
A small and timid thought intrudes
Somehow making itself heard
Amid the clamorous reproach
The vivid replayed scenes of
Every touch against

“Wasn’t it,”
It whispers
“Damn fun, despite the damage to our pride?”

I pause and contemplate my glove,
Sweaty and misshapen
Curled as it if still clutched at the grip
Calculating, counting up the days,
‘Til I can try again

Friday, December 12, 2008


A solitary human—so such thing
We exist as nodes where interactions intersect
Friends, teachers, lovers, rivals, foes
By their proximity attract, repel
Change our valence
Sometimes intermesh
Become a fluid part of who we are

Independence is a myth
A fear of perturbation
Of interplay with forces that
Can shift our orbit
Disrupt our steady state
Collide and scatter particles illuminating
Our true identity

Trust your inner nature
Its gravity and mass
Are stable attributes
Encoding all the best of the real “I”
Trade the false strength of autonomy for
Adamantine weave of I and thou, he and she
You hazard what? The loss of fictive self, but gain the world…

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Table of Equivalents

½ hour morning yoga = soy milk in my coffee
¾ hour gym at lunch break = 6 dark chocolate coated espresso beans
100 lunges = 10 half-salt almonds (Trader Joe’s—the best!)
1 hour practice = 1 cookie
3 hour weeknight practice = grilled cheese at midnight
4 hour weekend practice = 1 extra breakfast pancake and a Luna bar at break
1 perfect weeks’ attendance (yoga, gym and practice) = beer on Friday night

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Catalog of Sins (Western Canon)

My toenail,
Blackened when I kicked the floor
Seven weeks ago,
Drops off

I cannot have lost
You are not even rated…
I have earned my ‘C’!

A tangled pile
Of gold, bronze, silver, ribbons…
I try not to look

You fence so well against
The one who conquered me!
Outside, I cheer. Inside, I burn.

As the night winds down
All the lovely torsos bared
Uniforms are shed

Easy touches are
Like icing in the bowl. Must
I eat my veggies?

It was too much fun!
I fenced late into the night
Now my foot rebels