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.