The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Posts from — July 2012

Impediments

I studied Iyengar style yoga for a summer before one of my last soccer seasons with two local teachers who have been at it for decades. At the end of a session as we were folding forward, my instructor pointedly looked at me and yelled, “Lose the gut!” Naturally, it was my last class with him.

Yesterday, some ten years later, I understood that he was right (though, of course, wrong in his method). Sometimes there are impediments to practice that must be removed before one can practice, and the teacher must help the student remove them. It is irresponsible not to. Sometimes Minnesota nice just doesn’t work.

July 26, 2012   Comments Off on Impediments

The Invisible Bee

Though I did not see you
Or feel your wings
I am stung
At that place
Where there is no judgment or fear
And for one brief moment
Live again in perfect peace and harmony,
But just as quickly as you came
You went
Leaving me bereft,
Wholly undone again,
Though this time, unlike the last,
I know what you seek
And how to summon you.

July 24, 2012   Comments Off on The Invisible Bee

Death of a Superhero

It seems odd to attack and destroy a national hero, but, then, this is part of American culture, or any culture, when the wrong people are in charge. Naturally, I’m talking about Lance Armstrong—perhaps the greatest cyclist who ever lived—and the USADA—an agency of the U.S. government, unassociated with cycling or Olympic sports—who will almost certainly manage what a grand jury or international cycling itself could not achieve, namely, ban Lance for life and strip him of his Tour de France titles. The question, of course, is why. Why spend the time and money? The answer lies, in part, on the war on drugs and its importance in American culture and, also, I suspect, on Lance’s obdurate personality. But, when you think about it, how could he have achieved his seven Tour de France victories without being a hard man? How could he have won without using every means at his disposal? Why would anyone be naive enough to imagine otherwise?

One can only assume that when a grand jury failed to indict Armstrong, all of its evidence was turned over to the USADA. This was done in extremis. The USADA is not a legal forum, but an agency of the U.S. government whose decisions are made by a panel of experts. There is no due process, no ability to present a case or question witnesses, no legal recourse after the decision is made. Essentially, the USADA can and will do anything it pleases. Lance’s only option is to challenge the panel’s legal standing to make a judgment in this matter. Sadly, it is highly unlikely that he will succeed.

How quintessentially American this is. When we discover our superhero is flawed and human, we relish seeing him flayed, bowed, and bleeding, so we can pretend we are patricians sitting in judgment on a wounded gladiator in the Colosseum. The thing I love about Lance is that he will never give us this pleasure.

July 10, 2012   Comments Off on Death of a Superhero

The Burning Wind

I sweep across the earth as a dark shadow
I remember from my dreams
The bird of pain I know so well,
While squirrels lie panting on the grass
More brown than green
And leaves, loosened by the summer sun,
Cascade in sheets of yellow,
Now driven by a burning wind
I finally understand
Because I no longer have the power to resist it.

July 8, 2012   Comments Off on The Burning Wind