Thursday, April 01, 2010

"Against [her] own best time"

Well, it is April now, and National Poetry Month, so why not a post that takes a line from a poem?
I've been thinking of this line from Sharon Olds' poem "Sex Without Love" but totally out of context.
Yes, you naysayers and skeptics, it DOES have to do with Crossfit, thanks for asking.
Because, as you know, Crossfit workouts are usually timed, so, ostensibly, one competes against her neighbors and compatriots. But...BUT what she, one, I am actually competing against is "my own best time" meaning, I'm just competing against myself.
Of course, in the poem, Olds thinks this is a bad thing, because she compares it to sex without love. I won't comment on that, but she disparages runners because they "know they are alone." I love running and one of the reasons I love/d it was because it was something I did alone. I didn't need a gym or a partner to do it.
But I love Crossfit for the opposite reason. I do need a community, a coach, a competitor to do it. However, I also need to be reminded (like, every day) that I am not in competition with everyone or even anyone. Other people can make good motivators, the clock can kick you into action, but ultimately it is you against your own best time. And, I might add, your own standards.
I made myself redo two push ups today because I wasn't happy with my form. So. It's not enough to do it fastest, to do it best. You have to do it right.
That's some zen shit.
Happy Poetry Month!

Sex Without Love

How do they do it, the ones who make love
without love? Beautiful as dancers,
gliding over each other like ice-skaters
over the ice, fingers hooked
inside each other's bodies, faces
red as steak, wine, wet as the
children at birth whose mothers are going to
give them away. How do they come to the
come to the come to the God come to the
still waters, and not love
the one who came there with them, light
rising slowly as steam off their joined
skin? These are the true religious,
the purists, the pros, the ones who will not
accept a false Messiah, love the
priest instead of the God. They do not
mistake the lover for their own pleasure,
they are like great runners: they know they are alone
with the road surface, the cold, the wind,
the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio-
vascular health--just factors, like the partner
in the bed, and not the truth, which is the
single body alone in the universe
against its own best time.

1 comment:

Lisa B. said...

I always loved that poem. Does she disparage runners, really? I always thought she was just drawing the comparison (for sex-without-lovers) on the *basis* of their aloneness.

Interesting post.