Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Three running poems, recent efforts

Greetings all! Has been a while since I've checked in here. Meanwhile, my injured knee has started to calm down, so I am running again--and the poems below grow out of two experiences that I had recently.

The first was based on a workout with Bryn Mawr, described in the first stanza; not mentioned in the poem was that the first three repeats were to be run at 5k pace, the last at 3k pace. That part, well, let's just say the uphill second and fourth quarters complicated things a bit. But the sequence of the workout made me think of quatrains, and so I wanted to make it a four quatrain poem. I won't suggest you wait two minutes between stanzas. I didn't, in fact, wait a full two minutes between sets, since doing so would have me finishing too much later than everyone else.

The second is based on a long run that Bob prescribed, during which I was to run hard for descending periods of time: first 5 minutes, then 4, then 3, 2, and 1, with half the amount of time as recovery. I wanted to write a poem using that same sequence of lines; the space between the stanzas, though, was the same each time, so not quite approximating the recoveries.

The third is probably a work in progress--I wanted to give the feel of the breath of this meet--its color, its diversity of speed, the names of clubs forming a kind of roll call, a magic of sorts. It's just a beginning toward that idea. Responses/suggestions welcome for both poems..


Tonight’s Workout, he announced

Four sets of four

four hundreds, easy

one hundred between

efforts. Two

minutes between sets.

And the dance begins.

Speed up for fourth one—

fight uphill.

Maybe it’s endless.

Cadence slows. The heart

beats blood through the ears,

I fear less

the being alone,

others enroute home,

than leaving pieces

of me here.

Countdown—6:00 a.m. long run

It starts in quiet, sun
barely past
trees. Roads still
empty but for shift workers, delivery
trucks and imminent births.

Time grows
short. Bursts of light
set fire to cherry blossoms, reveal
blackbirds’ red wings.

Tulips open to
tickle of bees’ feet, pollen
gone, they receive more.

Runners inhale it all in quick
breaths carrying them through time

just once more—it is enough.

Masters Championships, Landover

In an arena full of hot

breaths, So many blasts

of color, expand and contract,

the uniforms of the quick and the also

rans, who also find

their true

colors. Spiked or non-spiked

shoes digging holes into the flesh

they wear

under Greater 

Philly, SoCal, Potomic 

Valley, Mass

Velocity, the names Pete

calls, tracking 

trajectories, creating

maps of effort,

lighting terrain from space.