The clink and scrape of the iron weights,
The sound of ice tearing through iron hull plates.

Oh no, I've forgotten to breathe!
A blackening, sickening, tottering moment,
Like one's first poppers,
And the room is gone.

The onset of blackness is when I hear
The clink of their glasses or am I daring
To imagine the glint of their china ware,
The alarming angle of the floor,
And the fixtures telling sway?

We cabled you about the sinking,
Did you not already know?

Headlong flung to the will of the Fates,
Drawn to this weight room, this life and these weights.


* Valsalva Effect is the technical term for holding one's breath at the
wrong time during a rep, thereby building up intrathoracic pressure which
will impede the blood flow to and from the brain, causing the bodybuilder
to black out. According to the Gold's Gym Book of Bodybuilding, he or she
"could conceivably be killed as the bar crashes downward." (Sprague and
Reynolds, 1983. p. 26)

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Rob Roth for The Jackie Factory ©1995
Moved to and updated February 2000