body, Fitness, Learning

Power Forward


I take a deep breath and add another 2-1/2 lb weight to either end of the chest press bar.  These “graduation” days are bittersweet.  Each crossing of a threshold puts the lie to the comforting narrative that I’m only so capable, only so strong.  If I keep surpassing my own limits, I might start to believe that most of them are self-imposed.  How in the world can I avoid living my full life under those conditions?

Image: Mary Ellen Mark’s Photograph of Shavanaas Begum, the Indian Circus Strongwoman, 1989

Living in the Moment, Poetry


It’s that
lifted cheek. Those improbable toes. The scent of raspberry in the fold of a yellow rose. That flourish in bottle blue mosaic, this single climbing vine. That black damp and wingbuzz at the mouth of shuttered copper mine.
This fountain. A canyon. That monarch. Those mountains.

It’s that
way his back bends when he feints low and away from his aim’s first trace. This just-right note down in the smoke and bass. The kiss under apple blossoms, and come to that, the apple. It’s this skin. The juice.

That taste.
You are, we whisper. It is so, you gasp. Make me feel, I plead.

It’s that
jump shot. Midnight walk. That sword of beam and concrete, this tower of glass.
This hot scalp of infant hunger burrowing into breast.
The swell, the salt, the foaming crest.

It’s that
Do you? That have you? That what if?
This yes.

A first spoonful. A last ember. The clasp on the chain at the back of the neck. That creak of opening, this bed of silk. The light biting at corners. A sweet sucking clench at the intake
of breath before

That letting go.
Your masterpiece in oil and the way water cuts channels through

This everything.

It’s that
key in your hand.
Those notes in script
you can’t read yet.
The drawstring, the marble, the button, the pocket.
The jar with no label.
This canvas still wet.
It is so, you say.
You are
I reply.

This is

we claim
It’s this.