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Resistance Training

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On days when he and I agree on things
just for the sake of keeping peace, I need
as long a workout as a wife can get. Bring on
those upper arm levers and lower leg presses,
bicep pads and tricep handles. Give me
a few strong arguments for soft abdominals,
some hard hammerings for hamstrings,
a long debate for pairs of deltoids and dorsis.
I’ll start right here with these two black steps
which contend so well with carbs and calories —
how strict a measure they ask of my heart
which too often gives up on firm positions.
Then listen as I huff along to the toughest
voice in the gym — a tape which pummels
over and over, Now move to the next station.
This platform, this time, I won’t give in.
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by Therese L. Broderick
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(An artist’s statement about this poem appears as the first comment.)

About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

One response »

  1. poetryaboutart

    ARTIST’S STATEMENT about this poem
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    Fact & Fiction ~
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    This poem was inspired by those “we agree to disagree” situations in marriage and in society (as in the recent H.L. Gates incident). Is it more desirable to stand firm in a position, to agree to disagree, or to compromise in partial agreement? I do have a membership in a resistance-training fitness club : the phrase “Now move to the next station” is, indeed, the phrase repeated on the gym’s audio tape. Some terms for the different kinds of muscles, and some terms for the parts of the various exercise machines, were taken from the gym’s website. My husband has seen this poem, and says it’s OK with him.
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    Sound & Sense ~
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    I wrote several revisions of this poem, testing the sounds and rhythms of the lines at each revision. I use alliteration in several places. I deliberately start with specific factual parts of anatomy/machinery (arm levers), then proceed to more figurative applications (arguments for abdominals). The governing metaphor of the poem is : working out the body (and gaining some fitness) = working out the argument (and gaining some victories). I deliberately choose to mention the black color of the pumps to lend a little darkness to the image of the heart in disagreement. Most lines have four or five relatively prominent beats.

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