(8) Just Me Marathon: Back in the Day (3/7)

“I challenge myself to stop comparing what I learn to the past.” Scott Belsky

Those high school cross-country legs
Weren’t much for running.
The mind rationalized yet another bad idea
Suggesting that running miles on trails
Might somehow impress the college basketball coaches.
Tough runs through a vacant William and Mary
In the cheese cloth air of an August afternoon
Proved to be the sign that the effort
Would have not effect
On the recruiting of my hoop playing abilities.
A few weeks later,
My cross country career was over,
Flaming out in a drizzle on a run to Mooretown Road.

A comfortable, climate controlled run
Shield from the August heat of southeastern Pennsylvania
With legs barely trained for a 5K,
Who in their stupidity are following an ego straight around a track
To see if the will to “do” is more palpable
Than the will to quit.
Kids play basketball on the court below,
The steps I take add up little by little
Until distance stops a journey
Letting the challenge end with so much as a whimper.
There’s no crowd to cheer, no coach to divert eye contact from,
Just a satisfaction that is hard to explain,
A knowing that comes with doing something hard,
Doing something worth being done…even if just for me.

(8) Just Me Marathon: Time (2/7)

“I challenge myself to stop comparing what I learn to the past.” Scott Belsky

So long ago, really only about ten years,
Time was the enemy, a relentless opponent
Who stood as an obstacle to success.
The ticking drummed a beat
Easily infecting many things that I attempted to do,
Running being the one
Most severely affected.

Time counts for basketball,
Or even the laconic sports of baseball and golf,
Never pressured me to rush,
Never encouraged me to feel put upon,
They just were and I knew how to relax into their rhythms.
Running was not that way,
Time was to be defeated.

Only nobody beats time,
As time is the endurance athlete that keeps going.
It’s the one whose hair never grays,
Muscles never fatigue,
For whom competitiveness reigns supreme.
No amount of effort,
No quantity of performance enhancement,
Nothing slows time down. Eventually, it will win.

Goals of the present
Should not be based on goals of the past.
Moments are now,
This is the time.
Remembering what once was,
A dinner, crazy intimacy, or a magic run
Is the stuff of folly.
For those types of thoughts
Leave a person in the past
Only to be passed…no crushed, by time.

(8) Just Me Marathon Reflections (1/7)

“I challenge myself to stop comparing what I learn to the past.” Scott Belsky

I got into my truck this morning,
The radio was playing some awful 80s song,
I switched the station and Strauss’ Metapmorphosen was playing.
It seemed appropriate, so I let it play.
The mood of the music was cool, calming and
With my next five to six hours booked by a real, albeit made up marathon
All the good vibes I could absorb.

2006 was the last time I ran for so many miles
Where would this go?

When the song was over, the lady started talking in the classical dj soft voice,
I bailed, hitting next as I pulled into the parking lot of the YMCA,
10,000 Maniacs came on singing about changes in the weather,
Funny, they are playing in my town in about three weeks,

Something was up…

(7) Hate Will Lose (5/7)

“Poetic facts lay their claims on us.” Jason Silva

Hatred lays waste to goodness.
It works its evil destruction through fear,
The threat of violence
Being the blade that cuts hearts united.

Goodness denies the demonic ways of hate.
Good works its magic with faith,
The belief of equality and the strength of something higher
Being the antidote to hate.

(7) And…? (4/7)

“Poetic facts lay their claims on us.” Jason Silva

Not enough is done to help the ladies of justice and liberty,
They probably get paid less than the statues of men,
Even the Confederate ones,
Who are unfortunates in history,
Dudes fighting for the wrong cause,
Losers, I’d say, no matter the metric used to gauge their role.
Dixie demagogues…face up to it, y’all.

Growing up in the South
Taught me many lessons about the goodness of all people.
Yet it never taught me how it felt
To live under the symbols of hate expressing
A glorified revisionist interpretation of history.
I never thought how divisive a statue of Jackson or Lee
Could be.

In fact, I never thought of how the grand ole south
Where the mint juleps, land of cotton, and horrible segregation
Cast a pal on people that co-ops a decent life and
Breeds contempt for everyone who dares to decry
Race baiting, racial intolerance, racism,
Whatever the smarter set decides to call this thing that
We do not have the social efficacy to rise against.

Nope. My south was full of diversity.
I ran around with everyone not caring much about how they looked,
Where they worshipped, or where they were from.
I only cared about who they were
And throughout, I learned to be better, not perfect,
Closer than what is possible when fitting in or humor breeds a long lasting shame
Like it did in Albemarle County the other day.

There are moments that can define who we are,
It’s a gift, though, to be able to think,
To be able to reflect and not accept things as they are,
To know that the way we treat others, whether overtly or not,
Will be judged, not only by society but spiritually as well.
Knowing is a process and I know that this ground of Charlottesville
Has been a place of inspiration for me and for this nation.

Yet, Charlottesville just happens to be in the south,
Another unfortunate, only this time geography, not history
Being the spotlight that shows the worst of people.
Too many other places could also absorb the same negativity
As that little town in Virginia
With its big university and dubious legacy
That goes back at least as far as the Founding Fathers.

The time for bitching is over.
Let Lady Justice do her thing,
How about some mandatory sentences for hate?
How about a national crisis as a result of hate groups?
How about all the rocks get turned over so
Hatred has no place to hide.
Whatchya say Donnie? Jeffy?

(7) No Slogans Here (3/7)

“Poetic facts lay their claims on us.” Jason Silva

Not for lovers today,
Nope,
Virginia showed its ass
In a way that
She strongly wants to escape.

The problem is that hatred
Does not respect state lines.
Truth is, left unchecked
These Puritans and seekers of Alabaster lives
Will go everywhere.
Wreaking havoc with fear.

Where is Lady Justice?
How about Lady Liberty?
They are more than statues, Sir.
They are ideas that are more important
Than focus groups,
Base constituents, and
Air time on conservative news outlets.

Let them go, Sir.
Groping will not solve your problems,
Nor will it get Virginia back to being
For lovers and on
The track of expunging its past.

(7) She’s Tough (2/7)

“Poetic facts lay their claims on us.” Jason Silva

She will find her way
Chilling the vitriol of race and propaganda
She will bring those scales
Weighing the cost of your freedom against your lack of worth.
She will choose appropriate sentences
Assigning your existence to the place where your hate can do the least harm.

She will get battered for doing that
Taking the political tongue lashing with a moral high ground.
She will look to us for support
Imploring us to know that we value the rule of law over fear-based opposition.
She will win,
Hatred will lose.

(7) When? (1/7)

“Poetic facts lay their claims on us.” Jason Silva

Death.
Territorial.
Selfish.
Intolerant.
Reverence.
Love.

She’s not supposed to see most of that.
Her eyes blindfolded to steer clear of the worst of us
So she can bring the beauty of justice
To groups who cannot bear the responsibility
Of love and reverence for all people.

Today, though, she is hamstrung
By a tide of hatred that seems unchecked by
Those who ran on her virtues and others who are
Bastardizing her ideals for their immoral wants,
A desire for purity that is more poisonous than the melting pot they shame.

When will Lady Justice have her way?
When will she be unshackled to do her job
Against all evil and not just that identified by the powerful few?
When will this hatred for one another pass away?
When?