Palooka v. Palooka: A poem

Former Cham-peen, champing at the bit to get hit, take a dive like the tomato can he’s become. Sum total of a man: One title, one belt, 67 wins, 27 losses; tosses and turns, alone, in the pre-dawn bed, ready for road work, rope work, speed bags, raw eggs, blood, vomit, piss, spit, shit, sweat, viscera, stink and cigar smoke, naked light bulb hanging on a wire, obese masseuse, Ben Gay; fire in the belly: must be the Ramen noodle/jelly donut/PBR dinner. On the corner, places a collect call to his Muse. “What do you expect? To win?” She snorts in his face, his Fate, amused at his Superflyweight state of fallen grace, the race already run, already won—others on top. None left to watch, no pay-per-view, no newspapermen, it’s a one-man bout; he goes the distance, takes two knockdowns, a standing 8-count, and a low blow, loses on a split decision, spits the mouthpiece into the bucket, and raises high his gloved hands, the once and future cham-peen, now and forever alive, forever loved.

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