Her firm determination, built from years
and miles of running fast, and faster still,
reflects the sum of all her sweat, her tears,
of every lap, up every grueling hill.
Her legs are lean and stronger than each race
she wins. Her legs are stronger with each stride
she takes in her determination’s pace;
her will to run is born from deep inside.
Inside, and nestled deep within her soul,
her legs are young and light; her memory
of running fast down hills, without control
is where her will to run is wild and free.
And though her focus helps her win each prize,
the running girl still shines within her eyes.
This rain absolves my sweat and seals my skin
with cool and pleasant temporary grace.
As I continue reaching deep within,
reprieve becomes the moisture on my face.
My legs are washed, anointed, as I run
by rivulets of clear and healing rain.
Each raindrop is a spirit; every one
absorbs the smallest facet of my pain.
This storm proceeds, a catalyst of speed
in drenching curtains, pushing me to fly
beyond cathartic cadences; I need
the rain to mask the tears that I will cry.
This rain commingles with my sweat, my tears
and lets me run beyond my deepest fears.
The words are new to you and new to me
but bonded by emotion there’s rapport.
I wish that I could touch, could hold, could see;
I wish to give you something, something more
than wishes and the distant touch of voice.
But overwhelming happiness for now
is in the words we share as we rejoice,
in every sound that’s uttered. I allow
my heart to burst wide open and embrace
the memories of touch; I held, I saw
your hand, your kiss, your precious, precious face.
Forever is a well from which I’ll draw
the memories of then and now, the love
within the words your words remind me of.
The blood behind my eyes begins to turn
perception from solidity to trance
by pressing on receptors of concern
to where I find my present circumstance.
Escape becomes a passageway of nerves
upon which my subconscious thoughts depart
from fissures in the cavernous reserves
of psyche far below my memory’s heart.
To juxtapose my memory with now
creates an incongruity at best;
at worst, it drags a knife across my brow
before it pushes slowly through my chest.
The pressure is released by stabbing deep,
and anti-climax drains me into sleep.
There is no question that the wind is strong
and heavy as it pushes back my best
attempts at moving forward. What is wrong
with stopping now, forever? Life at rest
is not the life I choose. So fuck the wind,
and fuck the heavy strength of moving air.
I also move, but by my will ascend;
the wind’s oblivious to risk, to dare.
It mocks in one direction, so I turn
and place it’s mockery against my back.
I have the choice to simply coast or burn
this tailwind down a hill of blurring black.
My rising strength is in my will, my mind,
and there is strength within me, undefined.
I know the shadowed path; I feel the ground
like knowing there’s a sun below the line
of morning. With the darkness comes the sound
of hesitated motion. I divine
the path by intuition, mixed with luck.
My faith is firm in nothing but my heart
and memories of roots my feet have struck.
I face the faceless darkness as I start,
aware the only metaphor for dark
is pain; I hold the metaphor at bay.
I run the measured miles of the park,
until the gods of twilight wake the day.
Then free to move within the blessed light,
I catch my breath and run with all my might.
18 miles on the Erie Canal Park Trail
3/22/2009 5:30 a.m. to 7:41 a.m.
This sonnet is available in my book, “26.2 Sonnets for Runners.”
Appalled by night, the grinding of the stars
against the darkness, I withdraw behind
the safety of translucent prison bars
that demarcate the boundaries of my mind.
I close my eyes, capitulate to dreams
which pierce me like the distant, starry rays
of godless worlds within the cracks and seams
of endless nights, incarcerated days.
It’s clear the window mocks my clarity
with curtains of perception, dingy white.
The universe is filthy, vast, and we
are nothing more than motes of dust at night.
Our freedom is illusory, at best,
at worst, the failure of some cosmic test.
I think of darkness, fifty years ago
when I was middle-aged and deaf and blind,
when beauty was a song I sang too slow,
and how I sold my soul to lose my mind.
To beauty, raise a glass of wine and tears
and press it to my lips with gentle haste.
My hands are trembling, filled with ancient fears
of uselessness which cannot be replaced.
Three days have passed since I regained my sight,
three days since I could hear, but not rejoice,
because she only visits me by night
and haunting, sobbing silence is her voice,
reminding me of fifty years ago
when beauty was a song I sang too slow.
You shake and cry when pleasure is intense;
you shake and cry for what? I thought I knew.
It must be something deeper than I sense
when I’m a million miles away from you.
You shake and cry behind the thinnest veil;
you shake and cry and tear the veil away,
my mind absorbing every small detail
in hopes to hold forgetfulness at bay.
I hear you in the distance, like a storm.
I see you on a page within a book.
I smell you like the rain when it is warm.
I taste you like the fish can taste the hook.
I break the solemn silence with a sigh,
unsure what ever made you shake and cry.
The engine of the runner is her heart;
the key which turns it over is desire.
I watch her run; her strength becomes a part
of will, the part that fuels the rising fire.
There’s grace to draw attention to the fact
that life is born within her graceful form.
There’s grace which leaves her beauty well intact
while power moves her forward like a storm.
She flows into her motions with an ease
that makes the wind seem tawdry as it flies.
The air is sudden stillness while her breeze
slips underneath her feet to make them rise.
Step back as she approaches, watch her stride
compelled by how her heart beats deep inside.