At The Gym

Whenever I get
my prescriptions renewed
the doctor inquires
about the exercises I do
I need an exercise program,
he insists, a prescription
they do not fill at the pharmacy.

At the crack of dawn
the gym is packed with people
running, biking, exercising
working with so much intensity.
Before I was merely half asleep
now I am depressed.

The trainers are all dressed in black
From head to toe - black
Ninja warriors
perfect magnets
for masochists

There are definite types
who inhabit the gym:
the muscle bound types, males
humping weights
overweight guys
cycling forever
never loosing any weight.
And the women
the young women
and the old
all excessively thin
all struggling to lose weight.

The gym is such a depressing place
all those people exercising, lifting weights
walking, running, cycling so hard
perfecting their flawed bodies.

They look tough
middle aged men with shaved heads
tight tank tops and tight shorts
strutting from machine to machine
with long pauses between sets
looking about, rotating their shoulders
walking funny legs apart arms wide
more like a waddle
stranded ducks pumping iron.

She exhibited such intensity
on a running-rotating-bike machine
small glasses on a small pointy nose
pony tail flopping
working her legs so hard
reading a magazine
listening to music
such a funny figure
I could not keep my eyes off her.

He was cycling away
this chubby man
approaching middle age
concentrating on his book
an instruction manual
how to be funny
(Did Jimmy or Steve need a book?)
Does he realize, I wonder
How funny he looks

A slight slip of a girl
with wispy blond hair escaping
exercising on a weight machine
up down up down up down up down
so quickly
I want to advise her
you are doing it all wrong
you need more weight
more resistance
until I realized that she was shifting
50 more pounds than I
and not even straining.

The first blush of youth has passed
and she looked worried
tattoos around her slender arms
lifting small weights
recreating what never was.

She has dry, thin hair
sagging cheeks and arms
sitting on a rowing machine
oh so
her hollow eyes transfixed
on the television

He is standing tall
shoulders tight and broad
tummy in, trotting on a running machine
maintaining an easy rhythm
as easy as when he ran
30 year ago,
he imagines.

She would be pretty
in a nice dress and a smile
but right now working so hard
on a runninng-rotating-biking machine
she is merely

She is very self conscious
in her sweaty sweats
gingerly adjusting the machine
doing her routine
hoping no one
will notice her

He stands in front
of a mirror
lifting weights
watching himself

All over the gym—mirrors
lying, deceiving, distorting mirrors
reminding us how much
we need the gym.

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Copyright 2017© by Peter D. Goodwin