The Weekly Poem: “ISYMFS”

This is a poem ragging on someone I used to be.

Lifting Music


Self-pity is exhausting.

Setting up. Dressing down.

Hitting the bench and feeling the burn

of bridges and bones,

red-browed, tearing up.


No shuffle mode. Workout routine is key.

Purposeful discontent.

Warm-up: five reps of Radiohead,

creeping through the fake plastic trees.

But we’re just getting started.


Ed Sheeran works the chest,

an Iron-Man core of sweat as you power through

the half-hics, clicks of exes’ Facebooks

and photo albums unmodified for years.

Upper back: Motion City Soundtrack,

shrugging at exaggerated inadequacy.

Rack it. Congrats.

Selective rejection sets a beat

to push through pain.


Take a break in-between exercises

and stare down the ceiling.

Plead and need and

listen enough, and Achievement Unlocked:

Everything You Deserve.

(At least, that’s the plan.)


Legs day takes determination,

bipolar but still the same bar.

Brow furrowed, striding uphill, across town,

head light from wistful intents and retroactive rebellion.

Make it a day to remember—

keep your hopes up high and your head down low.


Arms are Snow Patrol:

Balled fists at kisses missed

and arm tensed, “V” for vowing

it’ll never be as good as it was back then.

Crunches: hunching over the PC,

a knuckle-gut feeling as you surveil

the blips and tickers, traffic-like,

for a flirty PM or Verified retweet

suggesting there’s still a chance.

It takes a lot of activity

to be inactive.


And Coldplay? Creatine, the chaser

to an evening well-undone.

Don’t forget to stretch

with some neutral Top 40 tune.

It’s okay to go tired to bed,

just not breathless.





But, you know what?


The gains never come

and the wait never lightens.

Personal trainers are costly,

and spotters hard to come by.


So, I’m thinking,

if you try to raise your spirits and it breaks your back,

take some plates off already.

It’s less muscles to smile than frown,

goes the cliché, so hey—

why strain something?


Yeah, things not working out is a workout,

but it doesn’t have to be a burnout.

Motivation goes both ways, and so it’s high time

you scaled back—slowed up—

eased down the dumb bells

and said “what the hell,”


It’s still your set,

and I know you can lift less.




  1. Can’t say I’m much a gym goer but I definitely recognize descriptions of feeling trapped or locked into a bad place.

    Hope you can publish this legally with all the musicians you mention by name!

    • Ha, thanks! But yeah, from what I know of the industry, name-dropping fortunately shouldn’t be a problem. Already existing on a blog, on the other hand… well, let’s just say I’m investigating how to scrub some Google results, purely for hypothetical reasons.

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