Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Remedial Training

When I was 10 I got beat up

A lot

When you say “trust your body”
I’m not sure that it’s earned that trust
It was weak then
I fear it’s still weak now

It weeps at inconvenient moments
     Leaking from the seams
Lashes out in rage
     When calm would be the wiser course
Lusts at awkward times
     And in the wrong direction

You call these reactions
     Phenomena of mind
I feel quite clearly they arise from blood and bone
     Visceral machinations

Your body, whipcord thin
     Resilient yet unyielding
Has carried you through revolution
     Worlds turned upside down
Across the sea
     Bushwhacking a new life

Mine never faced such challenges and so remains
    Squishy, and unformed
Without the reflex of survival

But please, try, if you can, to teach me trust
And I will hope my instincts prove correct….

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Form Follows Function

Lunge 1,000 times
     Thigh bulges, straining at my knicker seams
Recover just as many times
     Calf solidifies, a coiled spring
Extend and hit the target—thus, and pause, again, and pause, again
     Slowly sculpt the shoulder, bicep, wrist
Swell my lungs with deep and steady breath
     Deepening my chest
Concentrate on one square inch upon your breast, unwavering attention
     Reroute the neural patterns of my brain
In each encounter, apply what you have taught
     Cultivate my patience, humor, equanimity

I throw myself, with trust, into this art
Allowing it to change me from the inside o

Monday, April 20, 2009


It must drive you nuts
How difficult it is to
Smooth my wrinkled acts
Stiffen my wrist
Straighten out my head

All your wisdom, skill
And cunning bottlenecked by
My impatient mind
Irrational fears
Pride and temperament

Fencing for yourself
Failure or success, your fate
Lies in your control
One step away
Well within your grasp

By choice or circumstance, instead you
Coax performance from my heart
Catechize my hand
Galvanize my mind
Or, at least, you try

Большое спасибо
And remember,
If at first you don’t succeed…

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wabi Sabi

My favorite weapon kinks, a little bit, mid-blade
     Nicked guard
     Ragged glove
     Dinged mask
Lopsided muscles swell, shaped by asymmetric use
     Calloused feet
     Torn nails
     Scarred wrist
A nervous tick mars my attack—disengage from 4 to 6 and back
     Loose wrist
     Hitched arm
     Crouching stance

Taken altogether
These flaws
Integrate and form
A balanced whole

The beauty of imperfection

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Viraga (Non-attachment)

I lost my father’s wedding ring somewhere
A massive chunk of gold
Perched upon my thumb
It slipped its bounds and fled

The loss left me surprisingly unmoved
And that in turn has given me
A subtle glimpse of hope
That maybe I progress

If I can shed in increments
Trappings of my past
Objects of emotion
Maybe I can die a little bit each day

And, dying into life
Emerge reborn

Monday, April 6, 2009

Categories of Action, 4 of 4: Offense

When the moment comes
     Pull the trigger
     Light the fuse
     Hit the gas
     Throw the switch
When you go, you go

No extra disengage
No last minute tweaks to distance, angle, phrase

Stop fardling around and

Categories of Action, 3 of 4: Defense

See Waiting Game 

Categories of Action, 2 of 4: Preparation

My footwork rakes the ground
Readying the earth
Cultivating space that feeds
My strategy, nudging it to bloom

The most perfect tactic
Executed out of context
Fails, of course
There is no proper act in isolation

This bout becomes a pas de deux
In which I lead you to
Expect exactly what
I will not do

I lure you to a distance and a pace
That lends me the advantage
Complements my strengths
Suits me to a tee

This dance is worth each single precious second
Of 180—
All I have, since in the end
One touch is all I need

Friday, April 3, 2009

Categories of Action, 1 of 4: Feint

Manipulation of your game
With my pretense
An earnest fib
(To be convincing, half-convinced myself)
Habituated to my threat
My deceptions deaden your response
Force you to reveal intent
And open you to simple, deadly acts
A little fencing humor!
Joke’s on you….

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Body scan, contusions:
• Right forearm—2 x 3”, coming up a pleasant grayish-blue
• Left inner elbow—1 x 2”, green/purple giving way to orange at the edges
• Right ankle—an angry blushing slash across the bone
• Right collarpoint—a deep red star, one quarter inch around (a perfect imprint of your point)
• Pubic bone (ow)—can’t see the color, don’t really want to look
• A minor constellation scattered cross my thigh (mapping parries made a touch too late.)

Inside—a huge and tender spot upon my ego, slowly fading hues of rage, frustration, loss

Which is cause and which effect?
Bruises first, it’s clear, correct?
Then pained emotions follow

I think not

Hypothesis: my insecurities well up
And, surfacing, attract the blade
Produce the welts
That manifest my inner strife
Blossoming from inside out, not outside in

If true, I only have to heal my soul
To stand upon the strip immaculate, untouched

Damn, that’s harder task by far than cleaning up my parry…