January 20, 2010

Hump Day Poetry: Mark Doty

Posted in Poetry at 5:47 pm by The Lizard Queen

At the Gym

This salt-stain spot
marks the place where men
lay down their heads,
back to the bench,

and hoist nothing
that need be lifted
but some burden they’ve chosen
this time: more reps,

more weight, the upward shove
of it leaving, collectively,
this sign of where we’ve been:
shroud-stain, negative

flashed onto the vinyl
where we push something
unyielding skyward,
gaining some power

at least over flesh,
which goads with desire,
and terrifies with frailty.
Who could say who’s

added his heat to the nimbus
of our intent, here where
we make ourselves:
something difficult

lifted, pressed or curled,
Power over beauty,
power over power!
Though there’s something more

tender, beneath our vanity,
our will to become objects
of desire: we sweat the mark
of our presence onto the cloth.

Here is some halo
the living made together.

—Mark Doty, 2002



  1. shakira said,

    I really need to get to a gym.lol
    a good read.

  2. moondustwriter said,

    The power of the press. I really like the visual you convey – when I workout tonight I’m going to think about your poem

  3. Yousei Hime said,

    All inspired by a stain? Well done and written. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Pttyann said,

    Made me tired to think about all the lifting & pushing,really good. 🙂

  5. Jaymie said,

    Good question. What is vanity’s reward if we choose to spend our live chasing it?

  6. brian miller said,

    nicely done…weights we choose as opposed to those we dont and for what?

  7. nanno1982 said,

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

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