Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Anger is a chancy fuel
Posing danger of
Unregulated burn

Righteous indignation is
An awesome flare
But iffy to maintain

Unhappiness is
Water on the flame
Unlikely precondition for success

I’d rather cultivate a
Calm and eager heart, a joyous, steady conflagration
Powering my touch

So tickle me before a competition
Rather than tick me off—
Tease with gentle conundrums

Primed for laughter
Poised for combat, heedless of success
My creativity unfurls

Remind me I know
All I need to know, I need only
Get out of the way

Lulled with confidence my mind will abdicate
Responsibility, settle down
With popcorn, cheering from the side

As all the proper actions happen by themselves
Just as you say they should…

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Home Base

Equipment bags strategically deployed
Demarcating territory
Temporary lodgings
Tribal bivouac

Scattered sweaty fragments of our gear
Jackets draped across the chairs in the
Vain hope they will dry
Before DEs

The cookie box, proffering
Sugar courage
Consolation, solace
Well-earned rewards

Here we gravitate to trade
Encouragement, advice and news
Touch, hug, fist-bump, offer
Sympathy for unjust calls, hurrahs for victory

They strike the strips and
We decamp as well, scattering
Debris of battle
Candy wrappers, bits of tape, a crumpled list of scores

It will be bigger, better, bannered at the
Next stop upon our migratory route of competition!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How to Choose a Coach (A Dichotomous Key, in Blank Verse)

A) Do you thrive and grow with:
1) Positive feedback, praise and reinforcement. If yes → American
2) Detailed explanations of the myriad ways that you fall short.→ Proceed to B

B) Do you react to pain by:
1) Stopping to rest and heal. If yes → American
2) Recognizing injury for what it is—a weakness of the will. → Proceed to C

C) Do you need:
1) words to parse what you do right, instructions to improve. If yes → American
2) or, can you deduce from foil’s twitch, a shrug, a snort, a mimicked lapse, a disapproving silence, what needs to be done? → Proceed to D

D) Do you believe that:
1) Pleasantry, the random joke or smile, a little kidding, make a lesson fun and, therefore, more effective? If yes → American
2) Niceness is insincere, therefore the enemy of the good. → Proceed to E

E) Is your reaction to a threat that bids fair to kill you (body, soul) to:
1) Run like hell. If yes → American
2) Embrace it as the path to true salvation? → Proceed to F

F) Do you accept that any good result arises from your Coach’s talent and instruction, all failure from your own deficiencies?
If yes → find yourself a Russian coach, sign in blood and brace yourself for one long, hard, painful, interesting ride.
But never say you were not warned….

Friday, July 2, 2010

In Transit

Idled in security
Packing and repacking my ominous equipment
Gleeful explanations…

Obnoxious yoga at the gate
My deepest Warrior I, a wobbly Crow
Diverting restless energy

Discreetly flaunting biceps
Angling to show the
Ostentatious bruise upon my arm

On the laptop, competition video
Hoping for the question
“There, on the left, that’s me. That colored light? My touch.”

Inevitable queries
“How do you pack your swords?”
“Doesn’t it hurt?”

And (my favorite)
“You get paid for this?”
(Pause for silent laughter)

Absolutely conscious of the
Transitory glory of the world
The brevity of my bit part

I’ll play it to the hilt, while
Waiting for the action to begin