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

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Faith, Part 2

At the break
Beset, behind and 
Not sure what to do

You hand me water and your 
Best advice

Gnomic utterances 
Seemingly divorced from
What just happened on the piste

“Keep distance about one foot farther out”
“Weight on your back hip”
“Get in close and bounce”

Never clear directions for the touch
Nothing so distinct as “parry circle six riposte” or
“attack to her flank”

I see absolutely no path forward
Doing what you say
It’s about as promising as “run into that wall!” or
“Pet the cat!”
Or simply

But being out of options I 
Shrug off doubt
Abandon rationality and
Try exactly what you say

And score the touch

To your delight
Offset by rue that
I look so surprised

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


To sometimes

Let myself sleep late 
Linger under covers 
Pinned by cat

Skip the gym
And soak my aching
Bones instead

Break from bouts
Lay down the blade
And chat 

Eat a second slice of cake
Drink hot chocolate even if it
Doesn’t snow

Leave an item on the daily list 
Maybe even two

Exercise a bit of 
self-compassion trusting that
the world won’t end 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019


It’s humbling to realize that
More than half the time I
Don’t know what I did

That is to say, I know I
Held the blade and
Not my breath
Kept the tension in my legs and
Not my arm

But in between “allez” and “halt” occurs
A sequence of events I
Can’t unpack

I did good
The light came on the
Hand flashed up 
Awarding me the touch

I’m just saying (full disclosure)
What happened in between is 
Something of a mystery

I can live with that

In my dreams when
I take flight 
The most important thing is not to 
Wonder how
Lest doubt rescind my wings