"Gym Zen" - Eugene C. Bianchi


"Gym Zen" - Eugene C. Bianchi

Rather than complain, I try to focus
on feeling in and out breath in my nostrils,
since X-ray plus diabetes fatigue won’t quit,
I turn it into a Zen-lite med,
walk slow as an old turtle
around the indoor track at UGA,
just floating from site to sight,
hoping my monkeys of judgment
will stay in the trees.

Down below four courts of basket-ballers
flash in an out of vision,
one girl among them,
Asians grouped alone,
the shouts and big-ego dribblers,
(oops, a monkey loose.)

Cut off from command and control,
I circle like a tired drone
taking snap shots of repeated moves
to score for the hell of it, a kind of
muscular Zen from emptied minds.

Just now, just here with quick takes
of female shapes – short, wide, tall,
tied hair bouncing behind, some
even gorgeous by runway standards,
an overweight gray-hair chugs by
with desperate wheezing (away, monkey, away),
while young men run on behind iPhones
with the best looks they can muster for
this circulating harem, hardly noticing—
pure perfection —two amazing hunks,
biceps bulging from wife-beater tee shirts,
racing like the wind.

As mnemonics I count the laps in Italian
to the mile marker, sit on a bench, here, now
with the circus swirling, I contemplate
a round of tai chi in the dance studio with
kind dancers who make room for an
ancient Zen-ner, just here, just now,
with monkeys quiet.
"Gym Zen" appears in Gene Bianchi's third book of poems, The Hum of It All. He is the featured reader at Wednesday's Word of Mouth event, June 7, at The Globe. Sign up for the open mic is at the bar beginning at 7 pm and readings begin upstairs at 8 pm.

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