I like learning things,
Maybe my poetry is too much about me,
Forche said in her book that she was encouraged
To write poetry about something other than herself.
I’d like to, but things seem easier this way.
What have I learned?
We took to the roads this morning ten or twelve strong,
We bullied cars to other lanes, or so I imagined.
Thinking tough was a defensive move
As my heart rate shot through the zones
Like gas prices climbing through the two-dollar range.
The group stuck together,
A hodgepodge of rhythms, conversations, and paces,
Only to break up for the threes, fives, and two lonely sevens.
It was cold. I did not know about the temperature dropping
Only a couple of degrees just before sunrise.
I knew my hands hurt from the chill and
That the hill didn’t look as menacing in the light,
But gravity and angles don’t lie,
It was the same mofo seen or unseen.
Stories stopped, breathing labored, endorphins released.
After accepting the hill’s charity, a steep downhill,
I was struck by the beauty of the morning.
The sun softly lit an unplowed field and for a moment
There was nothing,
The nothing of awe where even this jaded soul
Could recognize how great things can be.
Could it be that I’m getting older,
Able to see through the bull shit that is created by others,
Created by me?
Why should I care if my arms are skinny, little twigs,
Unable to lift a big body without help from rubber bands?
Why should I care if my belly rises from my torso
Life an annoying speed bump on the road.
I do care, but why should I?
Ah, vanity, the Devil’s favorite sin, according to Pacino.
Still, why should I care?
There are more important things, better lessons,
I’ve learned to like people, again.
That sounds harsh, but too many pokes with a hot iron
Has a way of turning a personality off.
The last few months of hitting the roads
With a group of dedicated souls
Has allowed me to see good. That’s a testament to them,
Not something I’m proud to admit about myself.
Maybe that’s it,
Caring is key,
It’s owning motivation,
So we can keep going.
I don’t want to be the big belly in the picture, so I run,
Today, I ran both night and day (cheap, I know)
Finding a peace that can’t come anywhere but from age,
And from paying attention to others
Like my running partner who
Thinks about things similarly and shares the
Same values, same humor, and hopefully shares
The same respect.
It’s good to know that people have the same issues that
I thought were all mine,
Strength through numbers, right?
Bringing life to those kinds of things
Is an emotional release worthy of boom box amplification,
And that’s what our stories are,
Radio transmissions, efforts to make sense of the stuff
That shouldn’t require a call.
But we do call, each person in the group,
Kind of an HR person,
Listening to each other’s stories,
Offering perspective, or just listening.
Only in this group,
It’s not just about complaints,
But also the joys of family, the ridiculousness of teachers,
Simple banter, dumb ass jokes.
The end of seven miles sometimes comes too soon.
Class continues at the coffee table,
Although, some days it’s in the back alley gym or pool,
Lessons happen in each area,
Have no expectations and take things as they are.
I love it. Not the back alley gym classes so much,
But why ruin a confessional type of poem with such negativity?
I love their energy, the laughing, and this feeling of trust
My crusty old white-haired soul with aging muscles
Is finding with this group of highly motivated early risers.
I’m learning. It’s scary good. Age be damned!
Please, though, no jock straps…