Friday, September 25, 2009

Please Don't (Fencing Etiquette 101)

Wipe your nose on your off hand
And then extend to shake

Wash your uniform and socks
Once or twice a month

Step upon an open strip, plug in
And then proceed to yak

On rare nights when I beat you
Mention that you’re having an off night

Whup me up and down the strip, and then
Mention that you’re having an off night

Courtesy is really not so hard
Just make believe I’ll do the same to you

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Preparation: Take II

Tip, tap, not too fast

Give a little bounce and a tickle and a bite
Push, pull, push, pull
Not too tight

Make a little dash with a stutter and a thump
In out back forth
Watch me jump

Give a little squirm and a wiggle and a twist
Run away, duck down
Hah! You missed

Feint and tease
And patter and glide
Slip towards the middle…
And finish outside

Tip, tap, not too fast

Monday, September 14, 2009


Route smooth the groove with acetone and rag
Again, again, again in patient repetition
Until the cloth shows clean, ready for the wire to bed down

Thread the barrel on, snug tight
Too loose, and with each touch it will unwind itself a smidge
Too tight and it will crevasse up its side

Wire, cheerful in unblemished red or blue
Carefully untangle from its coil
Sulphur scratch of match on box,
Insulation flares and crumbles into soot
The file’s gentle rasp revealing
Copper bright

Blind probing for the tiniest of holes
Tink, tink, tink
Not there, not there, not there, there
Escalating whine of metal slide, rising like a query
Answered by the firm thump of
Contact seating in the barrel’s heart

Spring and point popped in, tamped down
Latent energy entrapped by
(breath, relax) the tiniest of screws
Balanced on the driver’s lodestone tip
Gently gyred into place

Arch the blade, tense against the jig
Mimicking the pose it will repeat a thousand times
Presaging the touch
Nudge sluggish glue before the tube’s broad snout
Rolling down the long, cool length of steel
Consummating union

An hour or two of rest

Slip of insulation, final dot of glue
Sandwich on the guard and socket, pad
Choose the grip and snug it on the tang
Briskly tight the nut
Wind the wire
Round and round the socket
One more turn
Snip the dangling end and
(moment of truth)
Plug the tester in

Mazel tov—a weapon’s born
I christen you Red-Grey and tape you
So your colors wave upon your tip
May you have a long and joyous life of battle

And please don’t break tonight…

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Bargain

That was not my touch
Sure, it was my
Arm, blade, point, light
&, finally, score
I mean it was not me
No conscious self guided that clever glide
Around your wicked parry,
Picking up the blade on your riposte
And sailing home into
The sweet square inch between your
Shoulder and your bib

Me? I sat back and watched,
—it was very pretty
Opa! Bravo.
But if not me, then Who?
Perhaps some wayward numen, looking for a game
Lured by glittering lam├ęs, beeps and pretty flashing lights

Well, if this is enchantment
Let me be possessed
I will perform an exorcism in reverse
You’re welcome, spirit, to
Take on my puppet flesh
Make it appear
Athletic, and adept

In return I will provide
What little currency I have to trade…
A body trained as well as I am able,
Strong and fed and somewhat rested
(And cookies, lots of cookies, if it pleases)
A minimum of injuries
Brave blades, and worthy opponents
Copious opportunity to
Exercise your art
Deal? Spit on your incorporeal hand and shake

Here’s an empty space inside, where you can settle
Shaped to hold my soul, or center (call it what you will)
I’ve checked many times—It’s vacant, waiting for a tenant
See what a good fit!
Could have been hand-tailored to your lines
Almost as if, as if…

Dammit, where’ve you been all these long years?! Hey, wait, come back!