Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reflections (after fencing 4 fifteen touch bouts)

I am only happiness
Bliss is struggling to break
The bounds of impropriety and
With expectations

I am only bliss when
Being thrashed
With beauty and with
And sometimes can respond with
Bright riposte

I am thrashed with
And grace when pushed so hard
My mind breaks free and
Sometimes, my heart sings,
The target pierced

I rest

Friday, September 17, 2010


Each blade,
Secure within its sheath
Fold jacket, knickers, plastron
Neatly in the eager bag
(Smelling improbably sweet)
Turn the lamé inside out
And roll

Check the e-kit
Bandages and tape
Ice pack
Heat pack
More tape

Judiciously select a jelly
And butter (Almond/flax)
To slather on the bread
Sequester treats
Chocolate, nuts, banana
Pack the cookie box
Stow everything secure and…

That’s it
The last things under my control

Tonight I sleep
Or not
Tomorrow night I’ll undo
All that I have done today
Unpack, wash, repair and rest

And in between? Unknowable and

Too bad
You can’t cram for a competition

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Salt to a wound
Sand to a pearl
Nucleus of inspiration

Sometimes, you teach,
The greatest leaps
Begin with irritation

And so you poke
And nip
And goad
To spur my education

Though you mean well
I often feel
Primarily frustration

Perhaps we could
Try adding in
Sporadic relaxation?

Thursday, September 9, 2010


One breath
Mind stills, centered on my blade
One breath
First step, entering the fray
One breath
Test, watch, dance, explore
One breath
Tease, bait—feint? Ignore…
One breath
Bounce, glide, jump forward, back
One breath
In this moment, now…attack!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Letting Go

For all our plotting, planning
Earnest application
We don’t write the script
We play upon the piste

Fate dishes out surprises
Setbacks, consolations
Occasionally jewels of perfect action
Shining from a muddy bout
All the more delightful, being

We none of us command our victories
We tumble to them
Opening to grace
Pleasantly surprised by
What leaps out

It’s harder to appreciate
The value of defeat
Coinage in the bank of wisdom
Invested in improvement
Bearing interest only slowly, over time

And so I listen to the whiskey-rough & Jaggered voice of truth:
Bling is great, but even when I don’t get what I want
It may just be exactly what I need

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I’m ashamed to
Act this way
Schoolyard pettiness
Kindergarten cliques
Junior highjinks

Never quite available when
You come up to bout
Drift away to tape my blade
Upon your approach
Always on
Some other strip

All beneath my dignity
—ok, beneath my age—

But I can’t stop

I conclude it’s
Embedded in some primal
Crevasse of my brain
We simply do not synch

Best I can manage is to cover with some
Modicum of grace
What I can’t reform

Knowing I should thank you for
This lesson on
Attachment, and aversion
The very human nature of
The pack, the herd
Sneeches seeking stars
Who’s in, who’s out

Remembering that boundaries shift—
And in the past, I’ve been the one left ghosting on the other side

Thursday, September 2, 2010

S Curve

I loved the
Intoxicating rush
Tumbling up the slope of progress
Burning through the letters
E, D, C
Powered by the dregs of
Youthful competence

And now…

Each next step--
Asymptotic effort
Each teeny victory--
10x the preparation

Plot my progress:
Time at the gym, number of practice bouts…
Results at competition
Does this flattened arc
Forecast the future?
Have I banged up hard against my
Innate limitations?

My improvements come in
Geologic time
While I am faced
With biologic deadlines

I fear
No matter how I hone the knife edge
Of my skills
I’m doomed to never be the
Sharpest in the drawer
Seeking enlightenment, I’m
Simply a dim bulb when it comes to

Can I bifurcate my mind—
Be content
Accepting life as
Perfect as it is
Even as I push myself to
Higher altitudes
However short of breath?

Now might be the time to cultivate a willful ignorance
Of calculus, of probability, of trends

And be the sort of blessed, idiotic optimist beloved of the gods