Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Best wishes

I want for you 
The best 

of health 
The palimpsest of injury wiped clean 
Humors balanced 
Wind sound 
Internal leys of energy aligned 

of spirit 
Hooks of doubt untangled from the mind 
Cessation and acceptance 
Inner peace 
Whatever faith might ground you in this world 

of life 
Success in your endeavors 
Fulfilling work 
An amplitude of joy 
A minimum of idiots who drag you down 

and for your blade 
A swift and sure attack 
Impermeable parry 
Wicked riposte 
Against all opponents, 

And yet (forgive me), when we step on to the piste 
I want to 
Crumple your defense 
Spike your attack 
Confound your strategy and 
Drive my offense home 

Outcome aside 
We hug 
And resume our sincere and mutual regard

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Some Nights

Everything feels 
Just a little off 

My glove’s too tight 
Your shoes have an annoying squeak 
Sweat trickles down my neck 
My shoulders itch 

When the parry’s firm, the riposte flails 
My attack may open up a door and yet 
I miss and run into the wall 
Of your defense 

Even the best finish lands a 
Quarter inch from the lame 
Or sliding underneath 

Nights like this 
Victory’s no longer parsed in 
Bouts, but in a measure of 
Compassion for 

Forgiveness for my 
Patience for my flaws 

The hardest practice yet: 
Extending to myself the kindness 
That I offer others without thought

Friday, February 2, 2024

A Touch

Can be an accident a 
Fluke of fate a 
Side effect of 
Flailing blade 

A cheap and easy shot 
A crutch 
A sleazy shot that 
Almost shouldn’t count 

A fertile seed containing 
Replicable DNA 
A template for 
Future success 

A victory a 
Trusted tool, the 
Hard-won culmination of
A patient plan 

A jolt of serotonin that will 
Keep me coming back 
Even when it lands
Just one time out of ten

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Armory (2)

Bits fall off 
A tip velociting across the salle 
Spring in jubilant pursuit 
A clip that decompiles in the very 
Middle of the bout 

Tape shreds 
Wires break 
Screws split 

Set aside this injured weaponry awaits 
A therapeutic touch 

At least these mechanical defects 
Can be repaired 
MY bits deconstruct almost as often 
Shedding parts and 
Shredding key connections 
Torn and bent and stretched too far to 

Technically these biologic parts 
Might heal on their own 
But even odds they’re simply settled in an 
Altered state 
Demanding adaptation 

Is it any wonder that I want the best of both?
Snap-on parts that interchange 
With just a bit of fiddling and force 
The ease of healing that will come with time 
Regardless of attention 

Let’s try it out— One blade left in the bag (don’t peek!) 
For seven weeks to see if it will heal 
One finger sternly told to snap in place and 
Hold the line 

Yeah,  I’ll tell you how that goes

Monday, September 5, 2022


The shoulder tweaks, 
Triggering the drill: 
Roll & stretch & soak & rest 
Pamper ‘til its wheedled to perform 

Only to find the instability has leapt 
Like checkers, over back and hip to 
Settle in the knee 

Fencing at this age is like a game of dominos 
Or like applying plastic film--one sly burp of air 
Always remains 
No matter the massage 
Squidging to another spot 
Never truly 

 Knowing this migration 
 Always in the back of mind a 
 Modicum of doubt 

That tweak…a momentary pinge or 
Foreshadow of a systematic fail? 
One bad night or 
The first step In yet another years-long slog of rehabilitation? 

For all my decades this is what I’ve learned 
We’re never really well 
Or cured 
Or permanently fixed 

The best we can attain is “functional for now” 
Probationary health 

And so my current goal: 
To redefine heroic 
And cultivate a reservoir of 
Kindness to myself 

There's ample room for fellowship 
Perhaps you'd like to join the quest?

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Recover Forward

Our bags are chronographic capsules 
Disgorging fragmentary evidence of 
Times Before 

Uniforms that zip with 
Some protest 

Blades touched with rust 

An ouroboric tanglement of cords 

We ourselves are travelers 
Cast into future times 
Familiar venues fraught with 
Unfamiliar norms 

Cautiously we re-emerge 
Greeting fellow chrononauts 

Assessing what is welcome 
A little bow, an elbow bump 
Gripping hands or 
Going for the full-on hug 

Despite uncertainty 
This new epoch 
Offers reassurance: 

 Strangers smizing over masks 
 Abundant courtesy 
A plenitude of kindness 

One big change: the terms of this engagement 
The metrics of success 
Victory is being here, today 
With all of you 


Friday, January 1, 2021

Absence of Blade

I miss… 

The gnarly evidence of repetition 

A chromographic record of encounters 

The slop and tangle of uniform and gear 
The fertile mess of armory 

But most of all 

The shout and bustle of the salle 
Loving rivalry and sweaty hugs 

One would think the trade-off’s not so bad: 
My joints heal, I bank sleep, mend and wire 
Heck, I haven’t lost a bout since spring 

Nonetheless, I find I’d rather have 
Rough edges, bumps and bruises 
Minor injuries, fatigue 
Some scraps and wrangles 

That being so, 
When opportunity presents 
I know I will reach out and 
Take the blade again

Monday, March 30, 2020


Stop the action
Freeze frame
Put everything on pause

Let the blade fall
Turn and catch your breath while

Someone who’s supposed to be in 
Charge attempts to
Parse the action
Map what the hell just
Happened here and
Make the call

Don’t look at me, I’m
As mystified as you...
As all who spectate in this 
Strange exchange

However, I suspect that
It may be some time before 
We’re placed back en garde

Monday, March 9, 2020


With a bit of care and
Prompt attention maybe
I won’t stink

Working at the stains of
Messy practice
Blood and sweat
--A smear of chocolate--
Perhaps I can
Clean up my act

If nothing else a
Bracing rinse of vinegar
A good brisk wash
Will yield a clean white slate

Tempting me to
Try again

Monday, February 17, 2020

A Baker's Valentine

Sharing almond softness
A jammy amplitude of love

Even those that do not
Quite work out 
Shattered fragments of affection