Keith Johnson

(Cheshire, England)

Personal Trainer


FAT WITH THE PROMISE OF LEAN STREAKS

Late harvest saw us lifting bales to trailers
And up from the trailers to shippon lofts
Using a 2-pronged pitchfork or pikel
Jabbed centre-bale and hefted up in one sweep.

At the glooming of a late summer's day
The last loads would be brought in
As a chill caught sweat and chaff
With aches akimbo as the tractor backed up.

Dank bales leaved with Cheshire autumn
From the flats along the Ankersplatt
A fair jag on and one last tussle
To put them overhead aired aloft.

"Tha mun shape lad
Dunna be like th'owd woman
With a belly-full of butter milk
An wimmy-wammy i'the bitlin.

There inna any way but reet.
Tha mun stand reet lad -
Jab an swing in one go
Shifting as th'weight rises".

Big men and me a youth of sixteen
Jokes and hard judgments -
But they are long gone
Mown down by salty home-cured bacon -
Fat with the promise of lean streaks.

....

Late in life I have come back to the gym
And succumbed to the debonaire charm
Of my personal trainer Maria
Who comes from Wroclaw or ‘vrotswaf.

She has devised a program to improve me
And I stand looking at myself in the mirror
Holding a weighted ball out-stretched
Balancing on a BoSu and bending low.

I try to think of new things to say or ask
About Poland to reduce the pain -
But then she has me bridging
And holding for 10 more - she can't count.

"That's very good"
She says unconvincingly:
"Lift your tummy up
And squeeze your glutes.

Take a break if you are dizzy -
Next time bring a water bottle.
Now for your favourite
The lunges, leading leg straight at first".

Beautiful people in pink and black lycra
Pounding music and purposeful endeavour
And I am still here
Ready for a chick-pea and kinwa salad at the Maranui -
Fat with the promise of lean streaks.

Submitted: Thursday, July 24, 2014

Topic(s): LIFE


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