Lifting Weights

Even beneath uncontestable rain
My weightlifting neighbour
Presses his bench; he strains
Biceps and triceps against
A violence of indisputable greys
A month before July. Contorted face,
I pray he does not look the same
When extorting sighs from lovers,
Sincerely he appears to agonise;
Self-afflictions behind a fence,
An audience of cypresses blink
Under dark green umbrellas.
I cannot justify nor rationalise
The constraints of the body,
And I furthermore pray
For his ligaments to remain
In place, for our ambulances
Are overwhelmed and our hospitals
Like Ministers for Roads
Offloading excess silicates
Have cancelled triple bypasses.
The barbells rattle and wheeze;
Barbaric routines, might I pray
One more time that he should find
WD40 in a kitchen cupboard, please.

Across the flooded lane, which ego
Dictates may as well be as wide
As the Irish Sea, wider than speech,
Wider than a bouyant comet’s tail,
Even beneath uncontestable rain
I fail in the never-ending bout
With myself, I’m the butterfly
Shadow-boxer punching metastatic
Targets which look like me,
Where no winner flouts his
New-found wealth, silver belts,
No podium nor medals nor
Pouting for swarming paparazzi,
Nor even simply the satisfaction
A man may find when pressurised,
Moving kilograms up and down
Under a turbulent kingdom’s sky.

A weight can take so many shapes,
And when a weight is lifted
We mean to achieve a sense of relief,
So why when I strive
To lift aloft my dumbbell-mind
All I find are aches and grief.

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