Sunday, May 18, 2008

Poetry Contest--Free Verse

OK, I don't think I can write a triathlon sonnet, and so absent any protest, I'll kill that category. We'll have an open category in which you can write free verse, sonnet, or any form you like. But get your submissions in, including haiku and American homage, because I have spared no expense. I have hired two, authentic, professional educators to judge your submissions. Iron Wil and Trisaratops have consented to judge the contest and decide who wins the worthless Greyhound Schwag.

It just occurs to me, as I finish up the longest week of training for my second Ironman, how much I owe these two, exceptional women. They were a major part of my choice to start the Ironman journey. I followed their training and went to Wisconsin in 2006 to volunteer and spectate at their first attempts. I experienced their triumph and their heartbreak second hand. The next day, I signed up, and one year later, I was an Ironman. Because of that choice, I am not now the same person.

Thanks Tracy and Sara.

And now a poem, somewhat about the choices they motivated in me, and the conversation that goes on in my head when I see or hear people who won't own their lives.

Choices

What about this place you are in?
Don't like it? Doesn't it suit you?
Then why did you choose to be here, and why do you stay?

20, 30, 40 or more years ago, we were essentially the same:
Six to ten pounds, 20 some odd inches, helpless, needy, hungering, and thirsting.
I had some advantages, you had others, and yet here we are.

We're different, you say.
I could never do that, you say.
You don't have time.
You're too busy.
You're too tired.
Your knees hurt.
Your back, your hips, your fill-in-the-blank
Your job, your kids, your spouse, your house . . .
TV yeah-buts by the score.

My world spins just as quickly and just as slowly.
My time is no larger.
I have busy-ness and business.
Gravity threatens to hold me abed
My knees, my back, my hips, my blank-to-be-filled
My job, my kid, my spouse, my house . . .
But choices there are. Scores of them.

These choices. They don't make themselves.
No one made them for you.
That soda did not jump in your shopping cart.
It's right down the aisle from the sparkling water.
That shortness of breath on the stairs was not forced upon you.
You were a child. You ran and sang once.
You can sing again and run again, with your eyes turned to the sky, arms open wide.
It's your move.
Choose.

8 comments:

Fe-lady said...

Made the choice when I turned 17....and haven't looked back since.
(Nice poem BTW)

TriSaraTops said...

A+

;)

Very nice poem! You're my #1 Dogg!

J-Wim said...

Very eloquent. You are a man of many talents.

Jane said...

I'm still working on the american homage!

Bigun said...

Way to bias the graders, there, buddy-ro! I read your great poem, but my eyes are distracted by your countdown timer - 4 weeks! Crimeny!

Bigun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Supalinds said...

Wonderful poem! I love it.

You are a very talented writer...I am staying out of this contest as it would be lame-o compared to yours!!

Fe-lady said...

I wish I could remember when the switch flipped
Who I saw on T.V.
Or read about in a magazine
Who made me want to morph this soft baby-fat
seventeen year old body into one of
a "runner".

After trying for years, like teenagers do,
to "fit in" and "comply"
Suddenly I enjoyed hearing the rhythm of
feet on trail or asphalt
That different drum of being
a running girl in 1970

It was here I learned about me
and became comfortable.
Realized the "right" make-up, clothes, hair and friends weren't a concern
Not out here.
Drugs and alcohol only got in the way of my early morning excursions in fog and dew,
where I pet horses muzzles, talked to wide-eyed deer and watched the dog chase rabbits.

I now talk to lizards, snakes and the occasional
javelina as I move desert-tortoise-like up an
incline in the desert hills.
Who do I thank?

Who were you? Frank or Francie? You?
Bill or Steve? Who pushed me out that door
one moist Ohio morning
almost forty years ago.