August 7, 2009KR BlogKR

8 Ways Running is Like Poetry

1.) Mornings you rise, and before you think about food, before you think about the day, you stretch out your sleep and think about the open road.

2.) The beginning it takes a moment to get it going, the middle you start to feel the fire that stokes you, not in your mind and not in your body but somewhere in the meeting between the two, by the end you are talking yourself out of finishing–how does one end a run, slow down, return to walking, return home, return to a normal functioning of the body not on fire– it’s unbearable, really.

3.) Some days it’s five miles, easy and sweet; some days you stop and look over the bridge at the creek below; or you run fast for a burst here and there; some days it’s nine long miles, delirious with the sun soaking into your skin. Sometimes you’re alone with the most incongruous music in your ears– John Cage, Dolly Parton, and Krishna Das, for example– and other days you’re with a new friend, you’re talking about how your family doesn’t really know you at all but also knows the core of you better than anyone else, and if both things are true then who are you really?

4.) Faster and stronger, cell by cell, and day by day the body changes. You think you know who you are and then three weeks go by and you are a stranger to yourself, wanting things you never wanted before, trying to explain what endlessness feels like.

5.) On the road, passing everyone by, you have yourself to talk to, lines appear, form and reform, but there is not way to write them down. You witness them. You hope you are good enough to remember how they go.

6.) You are prepared for summer with your little shorts, you are prepared for autumn and spring with your long sleeved jersey, you are prepared for winter with leggings and winter shirt. One day in the middle of August, you quite ridiculously say to a room full of people, “I can’t wait until it’s really freezing outside again so I can go winter running.”

7.) The body is mortal, it changes under your fingers. You think the mind is probably like this too. When the body burns in the length of a run and the mind burns in the depths of a poem, you wonder if it isn’t all the same practice. Thinking about it makes you want to run or want to write a poem, but you’ve gone two days in a row now for good runs and know, against your urges, that you must rust.

8.) You need nothing now but yourself, your own sweet strength, the stirring within, your own urge, what some people call drive you know is pure guts.