Archive for May, 2015

Mon. – 5/25 #SayHerName + Aja Monet

For Monday:

Get outside and soak up the sun. Squeeze in 50 push-ups however you can.
Read the African American Policy Forum’s Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women.
Self-identifying Black women in Atlanta, #SayHerName in honor of Harriet Tubman asks you to wear white and be the MARTA Garnett Station at 11:00 am.

Monday’s poet is Aja Monet, reading Darnish Harris.

Sun. – 5/24 Triple threat + Robert Hayden

There’s a week left in our Push-ups (+ Poems) Challenge. If you’re part of the surge that has come on-board these past couple of weeks, it’s totally ok to jump into the challenge late. The push-ups will do you good for the next challenge. And if you’re a QF92er who believes reading the daily dare and thinking about it is as good as doing it, I have some bad news. Quit lurking and start push-upping.

Because when you do your push-ups, you can to be like The Hammer…in heels:

photo (3)

Sunday’s dare is a triplet that will get everything moving in the right direction in about 4 minutes flat. Here you go:

8-6-4-2
dumbbell clean to push press
burpees
renegade rows

So that’s 8 DCPP, 8 burpees, 8 RRs, 6 DCPP, 6 burpees, etc. It’s short and nasty. After you catch your breath, get out and enjoy the hell out of your Sunday.  Let us know in the comments your time.

For our Memorial Day weekend,

The Ballad of Nat Turner
Robert Hayden

Then fled, O brethren, the wicked juba
       and wandered wandered far
from curfew joys in the Dismal’s night.
       Fool of St. Elmo’s fire
In scary night I wandered, praying,
       Lord God my harshener,
speak to me now or let me die;
       speak, Lord, to this mourner.
And came at length to livid trees
       where Ibo warriors
hung shadowless, turning in wind
       that moaned like Africa,
Their belltongue bodies dead, their eyes
       alive with the anger deep
in my own heart. Is this the sign,
       the sign forepromised me?
The spirits vanished. Afraid and lonely
       I wandered on in blackness.
Speak to me now or let me die.
       Die, whispered the blackness.
And wild things gasped and scuffled in
       the night; seething shapes
of evil frolicked upon the air.
       I reeled with fear, I prayed.
Sudden brightness clove the preying
       darkness, brightness that was
itself a golden darkness, brightness
       so bright that it was darkness.
And there were angels, their faces hidden
       from me, angels at war
with one another, angels in dazzling
       combat. And oh the splendor,
The fearful splendor of that warring.
       Hide me, I cried to rock and bramble.
Hide me, the rock, the bramble cried. . . .
       How tell you of that holy battle?
The shock of wing on wing and sword
       on sword was the tumult of
a taken city burning. I cannot
       say how long they strove,
For the wheel in a turning wheel which is time
       in eternity had ceased
its whirling, and owl and moccasin,
       panther and nameless beast
And I were held like creatures fixed
       in flaming, in fiery amber.
But I saw I saw oh many of
       those mighty beings waver,
Waver and fall, go streaking down
       into swamp water, and the water
hissed and steamed and bubbled and locked
       shuddering shuddering over
The fallen and soon was motionless.
       Then that massive light
began a-folding slowly in
       upon itself, and I
Beheld the conqueror faces and, lo,
       they were like mine, I saw
they were like mine and in joy and terror
       wept, praising praising Jehovah.
Oh praised my honer, harshener
       till a sleep came over me,
a sleep heavy as death. And when
       I awoke at last free
And purified, I rose and prayed
       and returned after a time
to the blazing fields, to the humbleness.
       And bided my time.

Sat. – 5/23 Burpees, Bears & V’s + June Jordan

Supergroupers and QF92ers and once-and-future-queerfitters – remember the photo-shoot is happening Saturday at Brownwood Park. To be in the shoot, dress to the nines and be there at 9:45 ready to look strong and gorgeous.

The daily dare for the 23d is best done outside in the grass:

From point A, 7 lunge steps each leg
5 triple-push-up burpees (3 push-ups rather than 1)
bear walk back to point A
5 V-ups, holding the last one in a V-hold for as long as possible

5 rounds

A June Jordan love poem for today –

Poem for Haruko
June Jordan

I never thought I’d keep a record of my pain
or happiness
like candles lighting the entire soft lace
of the air
around the full length of your hair/a shower
organized by God
in brown and auburn
undulations luminous like particles
of flame
But now I do
retrieve an afternoon of apricots
and water interspersed with cigarettes
and sand and rocks
we walked across:
                        How easily you held
my hand
beside the low tide
of the world
Now I do
relive an evening of retreat
a bridge I left behind
where all the solid heat
of lust and tender trembling
lay as cruel and as kind
as passion spins its infinite
tergiversations in between the bitter
and the sweet
Alone and longing for you
now I do

Fri. – 5/22 Flow + Langston Hughes

Let’s end the week with another day of saving yourself from sitting. Here’s your sequence for the top of every hour:

down dog to a plank, 7 push-ups, down dog to a plank, 15 mountain climbers each leg, down dog,
jump your feet to your hands, 7 jumping squats, 15 squats

Think flow. If you’re feeling frisky this Friday, do 12 or 15 push-ups instead of 7; ditto the jumping squats. Let us know in the comments how many times you remembered to get some movement into your day.

Today, in celebration of Langston Hughes, who passed this day 48 years ago…

Let America Be America Again
Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—

America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Thur. – 5/21 Push-ups + Sherman Alexie

Shake out your arms. Feeling good & ready to get back to the push-ups? Here we go:

20 push-ups, 10 squats, 10 V-ups
15 push-up, 10 squats, 10 V-ups
10 push-ups, 10 squats, 10 V-ups
15 push-up, 10 squats, 10 V-ups
20 push-ups, 10 squats, 10 V-ups

Break this up into as many pieces as necessary to have every last one of your push-ups be all the way down to the ground.

Our poem in day 21 of our Push-ups + Poems is by Sherman Alexie. Before he became famous for his short story collections (The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, The Toughest Indian in the World) and his National Book Award winning young adult novel The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie was a poet.

The Powwow at the End of the World
Sherman Alexie (1996)

I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall
after an Indian woman puts her shoulder to the Grand Coulee Dam
and topples it. I am told by many of you that I must forgive
and so I shall after the floodwaters burst each successive dam
downriver from the Grand Coulee. I am told by many of you
that I must forgive and so I shall after the floodwaters find
their way to the mouth of the Columbia River as it enters the Pacific
and causes all of it to rise. I am told by many of you that I must forgive
and so I shall after the first drop of floodwater is swallowed by that salmon
waiting in the Pacific. I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall
after that salmon swims upstream, through the mouth of the Columbia
and then past the flooded cities, broken dams and abandoned reactors
of Hanford. I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall
after that salmon swims through the mouth of the Spokane River
as it meets the Columbia, then upstream, until it arrives
in the shallows of a secret bay on the reservation where I wait alone.
I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall after
that salmon leaps into the night air above the water, throws
a lightning bolt at the brush near my feet, and starts the fire
which will lead all of the lost Indians home. I am told
by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall
after we Indians have gathered around the fire with that salmon
who has three stories it must tell before sunrise: one story will teach us
how to pray; another story will make us laugh for hours;
the third story will give us reason to dance. I am told by many
of you that I must forgive and so I shall when I am dancing
with my tribe during the powwow at the end of the world.

Wed. – 5/20 Maintaining Rage + Maya Angelou

In Cambodia, May 20 is a day for remembering the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime responsible for the deaths of nearly a quarter of the country’s population from 1975 to 1979. When the Cambodian government declared the day of commemoration, the New York Times mistranslated T’veer Chong Kamhaeng as the Day of Hate. This is way off base, but not surprising: the day’s anger is directed not only at the dictator Pol Pot, but also at the United States for its role in helping Pol Pot come into power. According to journalist Tom Fawthrop, the more accurate translation of T’veer Chong Kamhaeng is “Day of Maintaining Rage.” That seems a right response to genocide.

OK, some days I’m just not able to make the connection between the day and the workout. Today is one of those days. Here’s the workout:

7 bent-over dumbbell rows
7 push-ups
7 bent-over dumbbell rows
5 weighted squats (dumbbells at your shoulders)
5 push-presses
5 weighted squats (dumbbells at your shoulders)

3 times all the way through – 4 if you have some rage to maintain and need to train up for it.

Caged Bird
Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Tue. – 5/19 Burpee border crossings + Gloria Anzaldúa

photoFor today’s Push-up + Poetry challenge, you’ll be jumping over an obstacle of your choice. It can be low to the ground (broomstick/jo/PVC pipe/barbell) or higher (a barbell with bumper plates, a bench, a box) for burpee jump-overs. My favorite is a fearless friend lying on the ground.

To do the burpee jump-over, face the obstacle, do a burpee, stand up and jump over the obstacle, turn around, do a burpee, jump back over to your original side. That’s one.

2 burpee jump-overs
10 squats
15 mountain climbers each leg

Drive through each round as fast as possible – the smoother your movements, the faster you’ll be. Following the theme from yesterday, do them at the top of every hour. You’re shooting for 10 rounds total. If you’ve not done 10 by the end of the day, do the remainder straight through, fast and smooth.

When obstacles, barriers and borders are put into place by the powers that be to keep you down and out, prepare to jump.  Our poem today is from Gloria Anzaldúa’s astounding Borderlands/La Frontera:

To live in the borderlands means you
are neither hispana india negra española
ni gabacha, eres mestiza, mulata, half-breed
caught in the crossfire between camps while carrying all five races on your back
not knowing which side to turn to, run from;

To live in the Borderlands means knowing
that the india in you, betrayed for 500 years,
is no longer speaking to you,
that mexicanas call you rajetas,
that denying the Anglo inside you
is as bad as having denied the Indian or Black;

Cuando vives en la frontera
people walk through you, wind steals your voice,
you’re a burra, buey, scapegoat
forerunner of a new race,
half and half–both woman and man, neither–
a new gender;

To live in the Borderlands means to
put chile in the borscht
eat whole wheat tortillas,
speak Tex-Mex with a Brooklyn accent;
be stopped by la migra at the border check points;

Living in the Borderlands means you fight hard to
resist the gold elixer beckoning from the bottle,
the pull of the gun barrel,
the rope crushing the hollow of your throat;

In the Borderlands
you are the battleground
where enemies are kin to each other;
you are at home, a stranger,
the border disputes have been settled
the volley of shots have shattered the truce
you are wounded, lost in action
dead, fighting back;

To live in the Borderlands means
the mill with the razor white teeth wants to shred off
your olive-red skin, crush out the kernel, your heart
pound you pinch you roll you out
smelling like white bread but dead;

To survive in the Borderlands
you must live sin fronteras
be a crossroads.