Because Even The Word Obstacle Is An Obstacle — Alison Luterman Poem

Episode 8

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Because Even The Word Obstacle Is An Obstacle

By Guest Blogger Alison Luterman

Try to love everything that gets in your way:

the Chinese women in flowered bathing caps

murmuring together in Mandarin, doing leg exercises in your lane

while you execute thirty-six furious laps,

one for every item on your to-do list.

The heavy-bellied man who goes thrashing through the water

like a horse with a harpoon stuck in its side,

whose breathless tsunamis rock you from your course.

Teachers all. Learn to be small

and swim through obstacles like a minnow

without grudges or memory. Dart

toward your goal, sperm to egg. Thinking Obstacle

is another obstacle. Try to love the teenage girl

idly lounging against the ladder, showing off her new tattoo:

Cette vie est la mienne, This life is mine,

in thick blue-black letters on her ivory instep.

Be glad shell have that to look at all her life,

and keep going, keep going. Swim by an uncle

in the lane next to yours who is teaching his nephew

how to hold his breath underwater,

even though kids aren’t allowed at this hour. Someday,

years from now, this boy

who is kicking and flailing in the exact place

you want to touch and turn

will be a young man, at a wedding on a boat

raising his champagne glass in a toast

when a huge wave hits, washing everyone overboard.

He’ll come up coughing and spitting like he is now,

but he’ll come up like a cork,

alive. So your moment

of impatience must bow in service to a larger story,

because if something is in your way it is

going your way, the way

of all beings; towards darkness, towards light.

Overcoming Obstacles

Poem About Overcoming Obstacles

About Alison Luterman

Alison Luterman is a poet, essayist and playwright. Her books include the poetry collections Desire Zoo (Tia Chucha Press), The Largest Possible Life (Cleveland State University Press) and See How We Almost Fly (Pearl Editions) and a collection of essays, Feral City (SheBooks). Luterman’s plays include Saying Kaddish With My Sister, Hot Water, Glitter and Spew, Oasis, and The Recruiter and the musical, The Chain.

 Her writings have been published in The Sun, The New York Times, The Boston Phoenix, Rattle, The Brooklyn Review, Oberon, Tattoo Highway, Ping Pong, Kalliope, Poetry East, Poet Lore, Poetry 180, Slipstream, and other journals and anthologies.

Alison has taught at The Writing Salon in Berkeley, the Esalen Institute, and the Omega Institute, as well as at high schools, juvenile halls, and poetry festivals.

RESOURCES

For fantastic coaching, classes or editing hire Alison here.

Get Alison’s poetry books here.

Alison is on staff as my sound bite specialist. Get her media coaching here. (Students in my courses rave about her!)

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Want to know how to subscribe on your phone? Watch this video.

Want to be a guest on my Podcast? Jet me an email with your topic and a link to your bio here.

Send Susan a Voice Message!

Click below to send me your voice message with a question or topic you’d like to hear more about in my upcoming podcasts! I will answer the most pressing and popular ones in a future episode. (I’ll mention your first name ONLY to protect your privacy.)

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