Thursday, March 31, 2011


If this life is better
Polished by a couple hundred repetitions
How appalling my first self
Surely was, to start

I wonder
Of that first iteration
What shards and tattered scabs
What stubbornly resistant bits

And which are new
Or if not truly new
Uncovered, excavated
Brought to light

And by what tics and
Fundamental flaws would one dear to me
Spot me in a heartbeat
This time ‘round

The sages say with time
And work
With meditation
I become more like myself
Closer to perfection

I suspect my deepest parts
Those most truly me
Are petty
Adamantine spikes resistant to reform
Fears and insecurities
Excessive self-regard

If I’m destined
Through these lives
To bump against you time and time again until
I get it right
I think we’re in for
Many more encounters

That being so, go hard on me
In each new bout, push me a little further down the path

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I suspect that
I’d be better off if
I stopped keeping score

Obsessively comparing
My numbered place
My relative results

I wonder if like
Such indicators warp the measurement of
What counts most

I need to formulate instead an
(Index of Fencing Happiness)
A running tally of my
Pleasure in my game

Metering a steady rise
Marking each advance in
Tactics, strategy

But truth to tell, while
I’ll aim to excel holistically, track quality of life
I’d like the bling as well

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Theory and Practice

Given you are fast, where I am slow
And hard, where I am soft
And steely in resolve, where I am insecure
Given what you have, and what I lack

It may be, sometimes,
That there are moves, habitual for you,
That simply do not fit
My hand, my mind, my knack

If the universe sees fit to grant
An act or two that spring, unbidden to my hand
And work
Who am I to peer inside the horse’s mouth?

Perhaps not all instruction can be
Strictly by the book
There need be room for variation
Idiosyncratic quirks
Standard deviation

I promise: I will earnestly audition all that you suggest
But in the end, can we agree, whatever scores consistently is best?

Friday, March 18, 2011


If I leave my foot
To putter
Pad and stutter,
Settle to its innate pace

If I sit,
Balanced on my backside
Tail knit, bum tucked
Muscles neatly coiled underneath

If I breathe
Scour the conduits
That focus power
Flush the tension from my bones

If I relax
Open chest, lifted heart
Shoulders butterflied across my back
Embodying fearless intent

If I firm my wrist
Fix my gaze,
Follow through
Let my touches
Land themselves (as they know how)

If I can master mustering these “ifs”
Then maybe
, maybe, this won’t be so bad

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Untroubled by the facts, blessed with
Blithe disregard of circumstance
You launch attacks with perfect confidence that
You will land
Cycling through your modest repertoire
Totaling three—a long offense, counter attack, remise—
(Note, nary a riposte)
Which works improbably well until
You meet an opponent who sees and understands, and then
You’re toast

I, on the other hand, am burdened with
Pretty good apprehension of the next move in the dance
I recognize the weakness to exploit
The opening to seize, proper response
My handicap—
I see too many endings. Beset by “but…what if…then you….”
Paralyzed by doubt, I lose my chance

Modern biotechnology may offer resolution
If we splice your fencing DNA with mine,
I guarantee an elegant solution
A stunning piece of alphabetic math
In which the sum of confidence and guile ensures
That “D” combined with “C” will yield a “B!”

Friday, March 4, 2011


Your butt sticks out

His knee collapses inward on the lunge

She squeals when attacked, frozen into immobility

His hand—magnetically attracted to his chest

Her automated defense—stick the arm out straight
And run away

I haven’t seen this crew for a full year
And nothing’s changed
Habitual reactions
Technical tics
Deep rooted and, I fear
Entirely resistant to reform

My consciousness uncomfortably aroused
I catch myself in surreptitious glances
At my feet
Peeking o’er my shoulder at my tush
Self-consciously suspecting a dispassionate observer
Back from leave
Would think the same of me…

Oh Stuart, can we get a mirror for the salle?
A little self-reflection could be good for all