Jasmine_K

United States

she/her. 16, i write poetry
est. sometime in 2017
currently waiting for wtw's 3rd golden age

Message to Readers

I don't know that I've written a lot of poetry on competitive swimming; I've always tried to distance it from my "actual" life. I've seen how fast sports can consume others' lives, especially on a nationally-ranked team like PASA. Here's this piece. Feedback is always welcome.

blood and sweat and no tears (real atheletes don't cry)

February 29, 2020

FREE WRITING

13
salonpas patches on wrists and lower backs 
(the sore-ness of muscles we take for granted)
and the lane-lines keep coming. spurting out of joints to
rest up the curve of breast (make footholds
out of girls)
to turn to each other only when there is no sun. (an age-old story)
we try to forget (and the gel is no longer cooling) and
athletes learn to ignore the seizing 
(or we pretend to)

they make warriors out of girls who do not want to fight anymore. (who are tired)
(who just wish to breathe) (who do not want to breathe) (who just want to fight)
(who have learned to push) (away)
and not into each other (you are not a human, you are an
athlete)

they count our footsteps to make
ghosts out of us.
(and they are rationing our inhales too) (you don't
breathe in a 25 sprint) (how) dare you

lauren stays after practice and
is there until midnight (the coaches love her) (she makes JO's)
(nobody mentions she will be burned out by then) and
the nylon can’t hide her ribs (fabric in place of skin)
(she gets mad when you beat her in races) (she doesn’t warm down)
the recruiters love her (we are waiting
with doughnuts and protein shakes) and she is not thirsty
because her body is poolwater.

(i am past my prime) 15 is band-aids over chest (tampons)
a liability
and coach doesn't miss me when
I don't come to practice. (your sister would make JO's if she just 
believed in herself)
and this is not to say i am jealous of my sister but maybe i am.
and maybe i am not sure what i am worth anymore (she matches
my 100-free time) i drop the team
(coach wants her to come 4 times a week)
again. you breathed. how can you breathe when you are sprinting?
(how can you breathe at all?)

the country club makes coach kick some of us out. members only.
rinconada swimmers replace us (nutritionists and private lessons)
(nobody mentions how quickly the team slips down the national ranking)
(the olympics don't care.)
JO's are the junior olympics.

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  • February 29, 2020 - 5:12pm (Now Viewing)

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3 Comments
  • N.

    i'll never forget the time my coaches screamed at me when i took a whole four breaths in the 50 free... i love the format you used, and i always think the result is intriguing when two unlike things (like poetry and athletics) are meshed; there's actually lot to cover when the poet digs deep, and you did a great job of that :)


    11 months ago
  • melancholyviolets

    this is really good. though i have not done team sports before, i have known those who do, and this definitely transferred the grueling experiences to the audience.


    11 months ago
  • A Certain Type of Decisive

    The sports I did weren't like this but my good friends had a panic attack over both swim team and cross country and I can almost imagine her saying "you are not a human, you are an athlete." Sports are insane.


    11 months ago