90 Seconds on the Round

90 seconds on the round
            Slip Slip
to the Double Leg Slam.

He's chasing his dream
he's chasing my dream, but I - -
               arm bar
       A snap. I catch the wince
he stacks down on me, pulls out

- - I pursue myself. 

We lock eyes, warrior 
spirit to spirit. Limbs pinwheel 

     This guy's here to go all out on me
     he goes - all - out - on - me.

He's trained to fight me, 
sculpted moves to fight me 

and now eats my blood. Brothers,
we leave it all in the octagon

all the muscle memory - 
all the hours run,
all the minutes on the bag, 
the tap-outs, the sparring
  - all the stories -  
our bread, our limit, the dreams

No hard feelings, but I want that belt.

Throw my head kick, he checks it to a 
takedown and triangle.

Forgive no excuse
     just one more round
           just one more round
second best is last

I  look  up  shake out

Time skips.

I watch myself, jump
parallel his back over his neck 
sink in the back choke, my feet
already 'round his thighs.

The last minute I marshal every 
scrap of my soul
                           Do or die 

I leave the cage a different man every time.


Thanks to the coaches at the UFC Gym in Corona, 
California for the precious glimpse into your history. 
Heartfelt appreciation to Phillip Brown and Cameron 
Underhill: it is my privileged pleasure to give voice
to your story. You inspire me to push the pace and 
sweat it.

40 thoughts on “90 Seconds on the Round

    • I am so grateful for the conscientious reading! You’re right on…I’m still on that track. This post is the culmination of several months’ worth of thinking and research — all while I was deep in thought on the meaning of art. Wow. Bloggers would kill for readers like you. I am so blessed. Thank you.

      • I admire your depth and dedication to your craft. I love to write, but generally skim and generalize, not plunging to the depths like you do. I’m delighted to be reading and sharing in your work.

      • The Why We Read – I think it was part 4 in the last series on writing – I poured 8 hours and my soul into, not counting the think and notes time. Thanks so very much for your time, B. With more talent, I wouldn’t need to work so hard sometimes but I sweat for the love of words as well as my dedication to my awesome readers. I hope to make every visit worth your time.

      • Brad, thanks for your time here and the last sweet feedback that you in fact had been unsure I had written this. Actually, my husband and I both feel the poem fell short of my goals. High standards here, perhaps. =) Am enjoying your blog, too.

    • Yes, I was looking at the art and heart of the sport. But tried not to sound like a woman. It was actually a first attempt, a meaningful one, to really stretch myself as a writer by entering a man’s world.

  1. When I read this, for a moment I didn’t understand you had written it! I really thought a man was speaking. Great entry, great insight.

    • Thx so much, Curt. Yep – certainly not my world. I even tried a Brazilian J Jitsu class, gi and all, to fill out any gaps in understanding I might have had beyond the few moves I learned in self-defense the last yr.

  2. Much the same as a gifted and dedicated vocalist can sing any genre or style of music with proficiency and ease, a gifted and dedicated writer can craft an intricate tale of wonder that captures the imagination of the reader. You are truly a gifted writer. As always, I’m enthralled.

  3. EXCELLENT – just fantastic! So, so well expressed, Diana. I love it. And I read it out to Daniel. I know! He can read! But I just like reading things like this, reading them aloud. It was just great, Diana. Your really tuned in to it, what it’s about.

    • Thank you, Naomi. You know, it’s been interesting to note women (and moms — like me!) taking to this one just like the guys. =) I appreciate the detailed feedback. I love your recent photographs – the architecture, the lines, are amazing. I hope your daughter is doing well, and that you’re bearing up under the mix of joy and sorrow. Blessings. Diana

    • Hey, Sahm. Thank you. Coming from you — I feel honored It hit me that journalists take themselves to the war zone, that they enter the thick of the story they’re hot on the trail of. To make sure I didn’t miss much more in the last month of research and the self-defense class that taught me a few moves ((before putting the poem together), I tried a BJJ class LOL – moi, with not an athletic bone in this body. The class turned out not to add a whole lot to my pile of drafts. The poem is a precursor to my next series — on GREATNESS. Talking a lot about MMA on Part 1 coming up. Fighting, fighting for time to write and post. Thx for listening. Been cool walking with you.

  4. This is the right web site for everyone who wishes to find out about this topic.
    You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that
    I actually will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a
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  5. Oh that took me back to my frequent bus trips in Korea between major cities. We w’d always have a martial arts movie which somehow never reached the end because we arrived at our destination before the movie finished. lol.

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