Thursday, January 01, 2015

Day 1 of 30: Strong

Alright, it's January and time to poem-a-day! Thanks to Nicole Callihan for giving me the push to write this month!  Over the next 30 days, I'll be attempting to write a poem a day.  This one, is based on my word for the year: strong.


It feels good to lift heavy weights. Think Samson. Think legs sprouted from redwoods.  Think holding up the whole fucking sky. Body like a fortified city, everything unnecessary falling from it Then, the drop, the lightening, the satisfying thud.

When we look at strong bodied women, we first see their faces (enough make up? Pretty, or butch?). Then, the bared abs, almost reptilian, the thick muscled legs.
A swimmers body (especially a butterflyer) will not fit into a normally sized prom dress or wedding dress.

When you swim far distances, you have to find a place inside yourself that no longer contains your mind.  Think glass carved out with fists. Think universe of forward motion. Think nothing but shore.

The women competing for the title of “the strongest woman in the world” climb ropes thicker than their arms. Drag laden sleds. Lift barbells greater than twice their weight.  Though beautiful, not one will be pictured on a magazine cover outside of her sport.  A strong woman isn’t marketable.

When you swim across a large lake for many hours the only thing you can see is the vinculum between sky and the dark, murky water below.

There is a line we draw between fit and over-fit. We hold that line with images of women who walk in between. Starve enough. Burn enough to need. Even the swimming catalogs use models who don’t have strong backs or biceps that could pull their bodies out of the water.

At the end of the Crossfit games, the top three winners grin and wave from a podium, at ease in their strong bodies.  

Perhaps, they are asking us to become indestructible. 

Perhaps, with their strength, they can hold up the sky long enough for us to pass through.

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