Bagua · Poem · Poetry · Tai Chi · Writing

The Art of War: Enter the Dragon

The Art of War: Enter the Dragon

He sees me at a distance

from the Salvation Army.

The soft glow of my white hair,

my short stature and square hips,

a slight limp,

a slow stride,

I am an easy mark

to a desperate bully.

Mam! Mam!

Come here!

Come here!

It’s like he’s found his prize.

He doesn’t see these deep lines

tracing the fingerprints of my soul

on my small face.

Each mark, a scar,

a battle won.

I am no kitten!

Come HERE! He commands.

I hear shouts of dominance,

impatience and irritation.

Does he think I’ll cross to HIS side!?

I veer into the parking lot of a bank.

It’s CLOSED!

Mam!  

He is crossing the

street in pursuit of me!

Come HERE!

He demands

like he is calling the pigs.

I take to the ATM area

to get to Broadway.

He’s advancing!

Leave me alone! I yell.

Go AWAY!

He’s on my back.

MAM! MAM!

Give me MONEY!

Leave me alone!

Go AWAY NOW!

I do not cower to extortion.

My duty is to self!

Give me MONEY! MONEY!

He flashes the cigarette butt

burning into his fingers.

He shows his teeth,

planted cock-eyed

behind tense lips.

I show him my piercing eyes. The flames,

my shield, my sword.

I am no stranger to bullies.

NO MONEY!

GO AWAY!

I advance to his face.

My scars deepen as I scowl.

My spirit finds its gateway.

My light is charged.

He persists, speaking loudly

in another language, but not imploring.

He isn’t my tribe. He doesn’t know

the rules here.

I’ve read the Art of War.

Do not press a desperate

soul too hard,” says Sun Tzu.

However, I assess the enemy’s

slight build.

Should he touch me, I’ll advance

and strikehim under the jaw

with the root of my palm

and throw him into the ATM.  

His screams will be filmed.

MONEY! NOW!

He practically hits me

with his near-empty bottle of Dr. Pepper.

I see no tears or pleas

for pity. Only dominance

over an old lady.

Show your banners!

beat your drums!” exclaims Sun.

I glare at the offender

with the eyes of a dragon.

Don’t let my shape or size

deceive you,

I am a round stone

gaining momentum

down a steep slope.

I will sweep you away

into a chasm.

Still he demands money. His tone,

You, Woman, give me money!

NO! I yell.

Leave me ALONE!

Go AWAY!

Sun whispers, “On contentious ground,

attack not. Lure the enemy by

pretending to flee.

One moment. I suddenly nod my head.

I open my purse and the perpetrator

doesn’t grab it.

He thinks I’m getting money,

but I take out the phone.

Police! I yell, I’m calling the POLICE!

911!  POLICE!

I gather myself, my troops, and my honor.

I withdraw slowly, back onto Broadway,

my eyes always on my foe.

I wave my phone at him as a new saber.

The baying jackal curses

and retreats into the shadows.


Battle bleeds another scar.

Victory, purifying fire.

Harmony, restored.

Such is the art of war,”

nods the smiling Sage.

Revised 02/07/2020

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©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image: Google search, Sun Tzu, The Art of War