Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Litany of Punches

A Litany of Punches

He could take a punch with a caveat

the asterisk mine, crudely chiseled

into imaginary granite in the

interest of full disclosure.   Body

blows, less than a Grant if you’re

counting corporal punishment

on the business end of my father’s

belt or the drilled wooden paddle

that kept the lines true in eighth

grade drafting all run together, one

faded flag bled of color, buried

in an unmarked grave near all

the birthdays I’ve forgotten, gone

because none of them featured a

memorable shot to the head along

with the cake.  I’ll never forget them,

bookends to a shelf full of mixed reviews,

the first delivered by Dennis Ross a

short black kid, miscommunication in

the lunchroom, he dropped into his

stance while I swayed, arms at my

sides, towering over him, marveling

at the stars.  Another school, years

later (clearly an institution that’s

bad for my health) another student,

mine, provoked by gods or demons,

a pair of solid one eighty round house

blows to the temple, the first one

a sucker while I tied my shoe,

the second punctuating his

declaration of independence,

me in the role of Mad King George

dazed beneath my cocked  

crown set spinning like a

mirror ball, a reign of blows, a

monarch who could take a punch*

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