My fitness coach

14 Dec 2020 | Poetry

My fitness coach, Ian,
all muscles and bathed in tattoos,
back powered by a giant angel,
talks of north-east Middlesborough,
where he spent his hard-nosed youth.
Punch-ups at the weekends,
waiting outside clubs
fuelled by voluminous vodka.
The occasional visit to police cells
He greets me today, soft-handshake,
welcoming words. “Hi, mate, ready to go?”
He recommends a Netflix film.
I pull ropes, bounce balls and lift weights.
He chuckles. I strive.
In his free time, when not pumping iron,
Ian takes striking photos of the local market.
A real talent. Not a friend exactly,
but he sparks loyalty.
I would trust Ian with my life.

Mark Allen
Written 2018