In times, long gone
I had broad shoulders
Even, ‘barrel chested’
Thick arms and wrists.
Legs were not so good
But I didn’t care
At thirteen, I had seen
Many adverts for Charles Atlas.
I knew I was the type
To have sand kicked in my face
Bullies at school, were not unknown
Determined, I studied that magazine.
In my bedroom, before bedtime
I dedicated hours to exercise
Pushing left fists, into right
Then reversing the trend.
Forty press-ups – kept up the sweat
Hand-stands against the bedroom door
Slowly down so my nose could touch the floor
Then back up to be vertically reversed.
Months and months – probably a year
The routine continued
Slowly, so slowly I saw a difference
In front of the front-room mirror.
Hands clasped behind me
Fingers on fingers hooked
I pulled apart with bulging shoulders
Muscles, over my back, became distinct.
Without years of trying
I gradually forgot, to exercise
Work took my energy
Exhausted, I just flopped into bed.
No longer super fit
Occasionally, I promised myself
To start again
But then – reality dawned
I just had to get used to it!