The Poetry of YS Fing, Part I


Sensitive Father’s Perspective

There’s no pleasure in watching these boys play
Much seeming nastiness is merely stupidity
Laughter masks weakness and confusion
And is used to attack before hiding in tears
There are some boys, a high percentage perhaps,
Whose moral awareness will never kick-in right
They may feel it most when they are impinged
But as for the fear and suffering of others,
If they’re not indifferent, they take pleasure
And would you want your kid to play like that
And internalize and socialize that remorselessness?
Or let them see it and learn how not to behave
And just not watch, it’s hardly even play at all

Foucault’s Panopticon for Kids (in two sonnets)

Discipline means learning how to learn
Being willing to practice and improve
Accepting admonition and adversity
Recognizing failure and trying again
Having fun working hard and sharing
Without thought for the promise of reward
(The promise is too much, the reward too little)
Because internalizing the processes
And allowing discipline to become the frame
The skeleton with which action is taken
The rational enduring center of virtue
To be established, then future happiness
In whatever form it may consist for you
Will be prepared for hard times as well
Hard times will begin with the one you love
And reverberate out to identity and faith
It will be difficult to know who to trust
Among the sharks of all corrupted society
Waiting to be validated among mediocrity
And eaten alive for the experience
But then finding there is no objective value
In the romantic perversity of youth
Still being desirous to believe, however vain,
You must find the will to return to calm
Which is performed over time
With patterned efficiency and sustainability
Is the purpose of discipline
And the reward for hard work is more hard work

Yao Ming’s Last NBA Game

I’m watching Yao Ming for the first time
He’s five inches taller than Shaquille O’Neil
The scale is altered
He’s slow to the post, he can’t commit
He’s got to go to the bench early with fouls
Phil Jackson is coaching against Yao’s team
Kobe Bryant has no awkwardness
Yao moves at his own pace
Still influences events with definitive rebounding
And once the half court offense has been established
His hook shot can be devastating
But if he’s on the bench, Pau Gasol takes over
Andrew Bynum, holy socks!
How is Yao Ming going to defeat the Lakers
Unrelenting youth and agility?
Answer: Not gonna
A body can only take so much

A Sword and a Bat

I just decided that fencing and baseball are nearly the same
At least in terms of offense – a momentary spasm
Of lunging balance, force and pirouette, swiveling hips
Stand in the fire and confidently hit

I don’t have any control over how others live their lives
I make value judgments about all kinds of things
Ignorant biases bolstered by irrational emotion
While others may actualize themselves by their own guidance

I’m interested in a disciplined body of work
Evidence of an intense engagement with rigid exertion
Focused on the game, a limited realm of dramatic
Success and traumatic failure, I sense life in this

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brother,
That you do unto me
Agonistes we strive
To prove ourselves worthy of the god in our heads

I’m not interested in excuses and bullshit and nothing to show
For time is the crusher and exercise prepares the body
Prepares the mind to swing and thrust at success
To attack and achieve by balancing strikeouts and hits
An encounter of physical artistry

Two Tae Kwon Do Poems: From a Session with Mister Shane

Get him, target engaged, target destroyed
Attack the master, I’m the only one allowed to kick the ball
Inchworm with a push-up across the mat
Don’t step sideways, step straight ahead, take a bigger step
Front toes off the ground and keep it straight
We reach with the back hand, we’re tucking the other one in
Think, make your body do it, then actually do it
Every time I see you cheat on the walking stance, five push-ups
The third fundamental movement requires a back hand strike
It’s ok to make a mistake, just switch your hands
Sneak attacks can come at any time, you never know
Stand up if you fall down, I know how good you are
That’s the pace you want but you’ve got to have balance and control
Flying turning flying back kick side back double
The spear finger goes to the mid-section, not shoulder level
Pick up your back foot, rising block, pick up your toes, punch
Don’t cheat on that walking stance, we’re doing chong mu
Keep working on it
Just because you saw it once before the holidays
Doesn’t mean you’ve kept it in mind, you need practice
Right foot comes to the left foot, both hands on the hip
Step into an ‘L’, u-shaped grab, block grab
Let’s have some fun tripping, who likes tripping?
See how easy that is? It’s gonna work


Y.S. Fing is an author and poet working out of Washington, DC. He roots for the Nationals when he isn’t composing beauty.