Thursday, February 20, 2014

Headline Poem 2/20/14 -- here in the middle

(Photo credit The Ski Channel)

Here we are nearing the end of February 2014. I have grown to love and look forward to my daily poetry writing time. Today's poem is inspired by the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The U.S. Women's Hockey team lost in overtime today to Canada. Maddie Bowman won the first ever Gold Medal in the Women's Half pipe, while honoring the late Sarah Burke. There are so many stories from around the world of triumph and tragedy and everything in between. This poem is about the collection of athletes at the games. I cannot do justice to the trainings and sacrifices, and all that is required to prepare for being an Olympic athlete, but here in the middle of my house, I close my eyes and imagine.

here in the middle

sometimes i close my eyes when i write because
what i am doing has nothing to do with the places my words want to go
there are more errors this way
but luckily i can always go back to clean things up
they close their eyes, but everything they see is planned out and neat
not left up to chance, sometimes no time to dance

somehow when my lids go down
i see more clearly
places of complete transcendence
that i have seen only in national geographic magazines 
as if i am there -- how can something be so foreign yet so familiar
in color and smell and direction?
they know exactly how fast to go and when
the turns are choreographed from beginning to end
airports and convention centers
tracks and slopes and jumps
preparation is what is served for breakfast, dinner, and lunch

there are fields of wild yellow flowers
then i climb the mountain until i hit snow
boots and socks are solid, but still my feet are cold
i stop when i want to sit and stare
the snow is so pure up there
i know i am the only one who has ever touched it, but it is not mine 
they are never alone... surrounded by coaches, teammates, spectators, fans, crowds, and training companions

i open my eyes and see them on tv
i have never been to russia
but i love skis and boards, and lifts, and chairs, the rush of the cold wind in my hair
i know the feeling of gliding over ice and powder, the noise of the board when it is natural or artificial
there is nothing that compares to the repetition of riding the chair up and soaring down
green or black diamond
it has been far too long since my legs felt sore the next day
they dedicate their entire world to their sport, and after each Olympic Game must decide if they have it in them to continue to train