Daily Archives: April 10, 2017

The Truth

the truth:

it’s exhausting being alive.
it’s not fun much of the time.
we only choose it
because the alternative is coming any way
and most of us aren’t early adopters.

the truth:

I’m glad there are people 
who like to mentor the young
because it needs doing but
I’m neither good at 
nor willing to do it.
if it happens inadvertently
as a result of my work, cool;
if not, ah, well…

the truth:

I’m pretty certain that 
even given all our best efforts otherwise
what we have here 
is a society based on 
everyone but the elite
having a bad case of 
failure to thrive
and you can’t run forever that way;
it’s failing 
by design.
we better learn 
to mine the rubble.

the truth:

I’m too old to matter
to 90% of the people
I wish I mattered to
and 90% more stupid
than I think I am anyway.

the truth:

I am beginning to forget
my power

and I suspect that’s a defense mechanism.

the truth:

I never mattered much to begin with

that is a comfort.

Gone Is Gone

an apparent tragedy
is visible here
above these caved sockets

whether a lost battle
or a won war
created this cloven skull

is unimportant
as this is
the end product

what is present:
what is gone:

all memory
of any color
once found here

any life
any love
both long gone

so no matter
how this fatal wound
came to be

whether in victory
or defeat
gone is gone

is dead

The Blood I Can Draw

Originally posted, 7/15/2010.

Joe Frazier’s left hooks
were the only thing
on my mind.

I had just turned eleven,
had just listened
to the Fight Of The Century
on a scratchy AM radio
a few nights before.

Although I was a righty
I threw what I felt was 
a mighty left hook
at Jeff Maxwell’s jaw
in the middle school gym
and (though we were just playing)
I laid him out
flat and crying,
and I admit

it felt pretty OK to see him there, sliding
on his ass away from me as I tried
to explain it was all in fun to Mr. Tornello
as he shook me and dragged me to
his sweat-soaked office
to await

my parents.

Right jabs and Muhammad Ali
were on my mind
a few years later when Henry Gifford
got dropped, this time in anger,
on the shores of Thompson Pond
for cussing me out
when I cussed him out
for breaking my switchblade,
and this time

there was blood on his mouth
and I confess
it felt OK
to see it moonlit and shining
on his face and I am glad now
that I hadn’t had
the knife in hand
at the time.

Kung-fu movies and Bruce Lee
were on my mind a few years after that
when it felt OK to deliver
a straight-arm open palm blow to the side
of Joe Peron’s nose during a work dispute
in a warehouse,
and heard the gentle snap
of his bridge breaking.

He knelt there
holding his nose. His hands
soaked and dripped blood,

and that felt better than OK
for a minute,

and because we were men
we just shook it off

and told no one of the fight.

It’s all on my mind again,
childhood and adulthood,
fights and

fighter heroes
of ring and screen,
and I can’t shake off

being old and heavy,
and thoughtful
about how much harder
I could hit today
because I know so much more
about how much better it feels
to hit than
to be hit.

How good it felt then,
and how good
it would feel again
if the opponents I have now could be
dispatched that easily,

but now I face
unpunchable bills,
bloodless banks,
rapacious creditors,
my own rotten body, and

the creeping fear

that these are enemies
I will never beat.

I stand thrashing in the kitchen
past midnight: cross, jab,
hook, uppercut,
palm strike, temple strike,
slash, stab,
icepick grip, sword grip.

I wish I could be a pacifist
in soul and action,

but I am not;

this urge to admire again
the blood I know I can draw,
to know the joy of winning
simply and quickly,

is almost more than I can bear.