So this is a poem that I posted in our Lockdown Literature group on Facebook a while ago now. I had been swept up in the phenomenon that is #PEwithJoe, which has taken place every morning of the UK’s lockdown, as part of the whole home-schooling effort. It fascinated me that something which was the total opposite of my idea of fun – and even my idea of exercise – had become so important to me. Every morning – and every morning since, 66 in total and counting- I was thinking about our workout from the moment I woke. I was loving putting myself through the whole effort, loving pushing my really quite old and broken body to the limit and loving Joe. Not like that! Although I can’t deny there’s a tiny bit of a (one-sided) bromance going on.
Rather than write a deep, thoughtful poem that would explore how I was approaching fighting the threat of Coronavirus, how we shouldn’t make hasty judgements and my progression into middle-age, I just went for, shall we say, a more ‘comedy’ angle and the usual nonsense. The result is below.
I first met you in Asda. The book aisle. I was doing the midweek shop. You caught my eye, staring at me from the cover of your latest tome. (Well, it was the book aisle).
All hair and teeth and man made fibres, a face that could become the international sign for the word ‘Wotcha’. You reminded me of myself a very long time ago: the hair, not the teeth, and a face that said, “What the fuck am I going to do with all this hair?”
You were definitely not for me.
Now, some years later, we seem to be in the midst of a rather intense bromance. Every weekday from nine you dance for me. Sort of. Breathless and shouting out the names of exercises, while I follow, an enthusiastic amateur undignified in clingy leisurewear. I too am breathless, heart racing, arms and legs trembling as I attempt to squat for the umpteenth time or plank for twenty seconds.
I tell you, I don’t usually act this way. You shout insanely. Something about exercise being a perfect start to the day. I think, ‘sounds reasonable’ and ‘why are you shouting?’
I dream of that body being mine. Not like that Joe Wicks, you mucky pup. No, I imagine that when all this ends I too will have a stomach like a cobbled street and a chest that folk refer to as pecs, rather than moobs.
One day, when I get bored, I’ ll destroy it all with beer, Jamaican ginger cake and Doritos. But we’ll always have that summer Joe Wicks. That summer that was actually a spring. Our very own aerobics Brokeback spring summer. Just locked behind our own front doors, rather than being sexy cowboys on a mountain.
So there you go. As a side note, I posted a video of me reading the poem on both Twitter and Facebook, which seemed to go down quite well. If you’d like me to re-post on Twitter, let me know! As ever with these poems, let me know what you think. Did you like the poem? Have you been partaking of a bit of Joe Wicks in the morning? Have you been someone who’s used lockdown/quarantine to try something new? I’d love people to give me their thoughts in the Comments box.