Gym Rats


Here comes the girl with the serpent tattoo who hangs her iPod on a string around her waist,

the Harley rider in black leather, do-rag, and shades,

the woman with the crooked smile who neck wrestles her llama,

the veiny-cheeked fellow angular as a poisonwood tree,

the pony-tailed waitress who uses her keys like brass knuckles-

they all meet at the gym and, oh Lordy, they sweat.

From morning till night, they bench press barbells,

squat and lunge to the insistent throb of Aerosmith, hear Steven Tyler wail

……….Got to get that monkey off my back

I’m quittin’ sugar, says the woman who gulps bitter tea. .

……..I made believe the devil made me do it

I chucked my Zippo, says the man who cleans his ears with matchsticks,

and emptied my last bottle of Kickin’ Chicken. …….

.You best believe I had it all and then I blew it

These are the gym rats, in this cave of city brick yellow as smoker’s teeth,

weighed down by remorse, regret and dimpled thighs.

Bakers and bookies and painters and plumbers stare at mirrored walls,

the half-truths in their eyes.

They labor, fail and try again and oh, they sweat.

They feast on that moment of flawless form,

a fleeting moment of perfection,

and breathe in the present before it becomes the past,

never to be perfect again.



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