Annuals, fiscal years, resolutions,
I’m done with those,
Sort of,
I’m starting my own calendar year
December 1st to November 31st.

I know, November only has thirty official days,
But this is my calendar, so 11/31 has a square,
I just don’t count it,
It’s there for wiggle room
Should I need an extra day of rest or something.

About this new year, why?
I don’t know, I figure there is no reason to wait
Until I’m 70 or 80 to start claiming
“I’ve earned it,” whenever I do something
Particular to me.

Those ages are too far off
And I reason that if we can have kindergarten graduations
Why not change the calendar up a bit
In a way that suits
Me.

Selfish? Okay.
All I’m really doing to taking advantage of the soulful rhythms
I’m feeling.
It’s arbitrary, self-centered, and safe
For I’m not forcing anyone into some pagan sun-worshipping.

I just want my goals to start today,
When the energy is right,
Motivation is high.
So this year is the year I get better at a lot of shit.
Starting today…

Kind of limping along,
Figuratively and literally,
Basketball being the literal culprit,
Motivation the figurehead of the former.

Today, frustration took over,
Putting a cranky back to the side,
Refusing to let a beautiful day
Be wasted inside.

With snow, ice, or rain on the way,
It seemed prudent to hit the trails today,
White Clay Creek called,
Patience answered.

A slow run, the kind where squirrels scavenging
Can be heard.
So slow, breath barely
Causing a fog.

It was great,
Softly running over crushed leaves,
Noticing the rocks, the roots, and
A new beaver dam.

This was the kind of run I’ve been missing,
No pace, no distance,
Just slow, under a rising sun,
Touched by the crisp air.

Tomorrow when the rain or ice comes,
I’ll be inside, hoping to breathe while swimming laps.
I’m sure I’ll be thinking about this run, too,
For it sure was beautiful.

I’ve been watching badminton this week,
An ecstatic sport internationally,
Nothing more than saltpeter in the Aux Arena
I’m a gym teacher,
And any time I can get kids to do anything
It’s awesome, but this day has been something else,

The highs…

Working out with my mates,

The mediums

Running into “extended” family in an awkward encounter,

The lows,

Watching badminton.

When will I let go,
When do I have to,
Why should I?

Truth is, I prefer my friends over work,
They are cool,
Unattached, free of life’s burdens,
Not needing of choice.
They are them.
My peeps.

I know them,
The traveler, full of sarcasm,
The HR lady, full of complimentary comments,
The “Satanic” one, full of humor and honesty.

There are the bookends,
The retail space magnets,
Corporate higher-ups, restless career changers, and
A host of others, each different, each cool.

Luckily, my work crew is just the same,
Pushing those career milestones with the same diligence
Required of hangers-on and educational dinosaurs.
Thank goodness we like each other, it makes the working life fun.

It’s like that at home, too,
A family full of individuals,
Sometimes acting like lightning bolts, sometimes
Lightning rods, always making the storms interesting

Whether it be barbells and running or
Kool-Aid drinks and conversations
These sappy social and familial holiday thoughts need to go,
Badminton is on.

That’s it, I’ll catch up with the clan in the morning,
The tribe on Monday. I don’t need much else.
Tomorrow it’s a cold one on the trails.
For now, I think I’ll just drool while these guys play badminton.

Races have a soul,
Philly has a soul,
Too often that Philly way
Is a soul steeped in harshness,
Bitterness,
What ifs…

This past Sunday clouds took a break
From draining themselves
On the hopefuls who were looking for personal greatness
Along the streets of Philadelphia
Where dreams are often dashed
In whatever macabre deviance cast out by the city.

With the rain stopped, the cold kept a hold on the scantily clad throng,
Finally, the gun sounded and off they went
Chugging through the neighborhoods,
Looping through the parks, and living in the Philly vibe
That if nothing else, is tough.

A little bitch of a hill in Fairmount,
The uneven pavement of Old City,
Whiskey charity, and the boredom of West River Drive
Each doing nothing to inspire doom, gloom, or failure,
Until they joined forces with Mother Nature.

Or maybe it was Old Man Winter who brought the pain,
With a nasty wind off the Schuylkill blowing heavy rain sideways that
Made a wild trip through Manayunk a serious battle to prevent leg cramps.
The weather and electrolyte depletion could not defy this soul
For lessons from Goggins ran deep and kept purpose in the forefront.

Neither snow, sleet, nor hail could slow the pace,
Not even a full bladder could stop a determined stride
Each hobble bringing the finish line closer until it got real when.
The personal clouds opened up
Letting loose a torrent camouflaged by nature’s storm.

Toughness,
That intangible trait, something the Greek used to factor in,
Before he became a racist buffoon,
Is the one thing that culminates from all those hours of training,
And in the City of Brotherly Love, thousands showed their mettle.

Forget the metal platitudes, the dry fit t-shirts,
Forget the celebrities at the start,
Marathons are about a soul, an ethos
That we can do something crazy, something seemingly impossible,
Something fitting for a city like Philadelphia.

For in all the ugliness of the urban area,
All the pain and suffering that exists at one end of the city’s continuum
Not all hurt must be dire,
Hips might quit, fingers might get cold, hypothermia might be right around the corner,
But soul can soothe all ills.

A soul is an identity,
The energy that lets others know this is who we are
Take it or leave it.
And I’m taking it, the warts of Philly, the gifts of Philly,
The soul of Philly.

Twenty-six miles and change,
Not much on the scale of accomplishments,
Five hours
Not much on the scale of accomplishments,
But I’m damn proud of the experience.

The cold, the cramps, the confluence of cold rain and hot whatever that was,
We were out there testing ourselves,
Treating ourselves to the power of uncertainty,
Gaining new scars, better stories, and callouses against doubt and regret,
Souls, that’s what we got, yo.

Effing ninety seconds,
That’s not a long time
Over the course of twenty-six miles,
But that’s how many extra I used
Beyond my goal time.

There are plenty of excuses,
Rain, sleet, snow, and hail
Each driven sideways by a cold wind…
Forget that, I loved the challenge,
Especially after listening to Goggins for two days.

Age? Can’t do that either,
There were some super fast times
Chalked up by old heads like me.
No excuses, I ran what the clock said I ran,
Every effing winterized, long-of-the-tooth step.

Trending downward,
Not in a bad way,
Just easing into the days,
Semi-patiently waiting for a race
And then a change,
The next big challenge
That will require more patience,
Greater acceptance of ease,
“Belief in a better way,” like Ben sang,
So I can find another upward trend.