Never thought I’d write this,
But I miss swimming,
I’d gotten used to the rhythms,
The counting,
The sound of the breathing,
The way the lane lines click when I’m kicking.

I’d just gotten used to the snorkel,
Putting in some good technique work.
I’d just gotten over being in a swimsuit
Instead of the beachwear, I’d been sporting as a dad.
I’d just gotten to the point
Where water was not an enemy, but a partner.

Simple things,
Life has changed a great deal,
The real-life stuff
Means so much more than my piddly laps.
Everyone be well
The pools can wait.

Fred’s week went down right after he had his best swim. The water pushed him along, nearly parting as he pushed his newfound pace. There was a post-exercise rush that ended as soon as he got to work. The weight of shutdown culture came crashing down. The drowning nature of the fear existing from the defense of other people’s feelings pulled Fred under. He did the only thing he knew to do. He held his breath, dropping out of sight and stewing about what life was becoming, an unfortunate set of experiences that stole the good from a super swim.

A lost quality
In this time of internet sharing
Where all of our lives
Are there for general consumption.

It was a day,
Goggins-esque? O’Brady-ish?
I don’t know,
I just had a good swim
Only brag worthy to me.

A little better, that’s all,
Not enough for a sponsor,
Barely noteworthy in a life
Probably more open than should be.

Breathing under water is hard,
I guess it’s that whole drowning thing.
Some say that’s the worst way to go,
But I’m not ready to find out,
So I’ll keep turning my head and
Gulping those quick breaths
As the people all around me
Glide over the top of the water
Without a bit of struggle.

Something to work for…

I’m fearing for my life,
There is a pounding in my chest,
A gauntlet has been thrown, and
I’ve not been one to back down,

At least lately.

It seems that the demonic one
Felt insulted by a lesser spirit,
Now the wrath will be splashed
On us all,

At least so it was written.

Look, swimming is hard enough.
Holding my breath is fun, but it hurts.
Treading water for several minutes?
It’s not easy.

So I will sleep in fear.

Dreams of underwater dumbbell rows,
That one were we sort of float with our feet up,
Abs with our feet out of the pool, and
Who knows how many laps.


Be easy on the quiet ones,
We do not deserve a mortal’s beatdown
Due to the shade thrown your way.
We are meek, docile, and appreciative.

[Doubtful that the plea will help.]

Earlier, I wrote of kung fu fighting
Without a disco beat or
Choreographed fight scenes or
Any magic techniques learned sanding decks.

No, this was a straight-up accounting
Of mountain climber bad timing
When a salmon swimming upstream
Ran into an unaware momma bear.

But that wasn’t even close
To being the highlight of the morning.
The main event preceded the ass-kicking
But there wasn’t any Cobra Kai physical contact.

The lane lines were set,
It was time to move them,
The previously mentioned instructor
Went about her business doing so.

The first blow in this earring removing donnybrook
Involved a turf marking question from a surgical glove-wearing
Person rarely seen in the important environs of the Y pool,
“And what predicated the rearranging of the lane lines?”

Sometimes I look at my kids with both a dumbfounded gaze
When they say something to their mother
That shows how little they fear death.
In those moments, I sincerely worry for their safety.

Being the boundary between the faux doctor in blue and
The combat instructor with mystical connections to fabled powers,
I knew I had to move. The forthcoming answer would be heard
With enough Darth Vader and grizzly to push me towards the closet.

“For claaasssss…”

“Oh, for class. There’s a class?”

I turned to see the gore I was sure was coming, Blue Lady
Had gone to a place my masculine skills of observation could not comprehend,
My friend, the instructor, a perfectly capable deliverer of pain
Showed restraint at this feminine incursion into her kingdom,


That was that, it was over,
No one got hurt, although I believe Veruca might have felt her power play failed
And my friend was silently steaming as steam rose from her in the pool,
The whole thing stole my energy and made me lazy in class…yep…



woman wearing white karati g under blue sky
Photo by Caleb Oquendo on

Back in my youth,
When my hair was brown,
After blonde and before white,
I was into Bruce Lee’s movies.
I bought into his attitude,
An assassin’s confidence, a
Not taking any grief from anyone, but
Also, a way where he would avoid
Confrontation until there was
No other choice.

His acrobatics, tactics, and mannerisms
Spoke to me and for a while had me thinking
I might someday be a martial arts kind of kid.
Baseball and basketball won out on that one
And eventually, Bruce would kind of fade away
Until a couple of years ago
When I read a book of his journals.
I knew then that I needed to martial a little more energy
And get myself back into a fitness mindset
Before middle age engulfed me completely.
Since then, I’m back, trying new things,
Working on lazy arms in swimming,
Plopping feet when running, and
Over the handlebar fears while biking.

Somewhere back there is the cry of Bruce Lee
Just before he drops a hammer on someone,
Somehow full of remorse for the beat down,
Yet totally at peace with what befell his enemy.

This morning I found myself working out in a pool,
Full-on body combat, HIIT in the water, although,
My energy for the weights was a bit lacking,
Partly because my suit couldn’t handle jumping from the water,
A little because I was kind of lazy.
I was down with the class because the instructor
Knows how to heard cats and she gave me good suggestions
To fix an old shoulder issue even though I was the only dog in class.
Four of the five were going hard, dog-paddling would describe me,
And as we did mountain climbers
Bruce Lee came back to consciousness.
The instructor, a devilish one, a wake producing swimmer,
Went full linear with her kick to the back
And took out an old ninja getting ready for an attack from the other lane.

Truth is, the dude was just swimming laps,
And he drifted into a kick like the one Kareem put on Bruce Lee
In Bruce’s last movie.
If the concussive force of the hit didn’t fill his goggles up with water,
He should consider himself a lucky man.
I feel like a survived, too,
For I drank about two and a half gallons of pool water
When the guy bobbed to the surface.

I hope this episode makes it to the group’s journal
Of eternal chi. The energy making life great,
Except for the ninja, of course.

What’s going on?

Nobody can dispel with the doubt
Of whether or not to vote him out.

While they continue to debate his menace
I’ve switched over to watch tennis.

Thank goodness it is on
Otherwise television might be gone

Off to the YMCA for a swim
Where I work hard to get fit and trip

But I’d better pack a snack
Because earlier the GNC kid nearly had a panic attack

When I asked if they sold any energy gels
Something he didn’t know to well

Explaining before the conversation went to far
That, “I have no idea what they are.”

So when I do make it back to the pool
There’d better be some electrolytes in my drool

Because the only nourishment I’ll be getting for my brain
Is from the rooftop patter of heavy rain

Mixing with the over done tennis grunting
And mind distracting political shunting

Keeping me from realizing how tiring life has become
As they work to get rid of this bum.

Really, what’s going on?