Palooka v. Palooka: A poem

Ever'thing, Floetry, New

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.


Past Tense Past

Ever'thing, Floetry

Dumpsters filled to brim, buckthorn needs a trim;
Technicolor oil circles the drain, ozone alert brings the pain.
Seagulls and cigarette butts  adorn big box parking lot’s winter morn.

Mourning, the Idealist hits the gas, wants to drive where what’s past
flies by the window, clocks running in reverse—
death in the delivery room, birthed in a hearse.

Reverse the flow, reroute the river to north from south,
Unbuild the dams, unsilt the river mouths.

Give voice to rude Nature—an Indian whoop;
climate change defanged, gone the feedback loop.
Land becomes “unimproved,” trees built from houses,
Animals outnumber us, men become mouses.

Hunter and hunted now equal rivals,
Hunting for dinner a game of survival—
May the best species win, and often it’s not us—
The Idealist is eaten awaiting the State Street bus.

No Otter

Ever'thing, Floetry

Growing old; mold forms in the interstices of a failed synapse.

Lapse of perspicuity, chronic acuity to life’s grim annuity:
Fixed fate of return.
Two burned out electrical impulses: “A” and “-ha.”

Think what you thought—you ought—
but what dreams that come numb your skull,
leave your mouth dumb, full with sand;

Stranger than this strange land there is no otter.


Ever'thing, Floetry

(an ode to a missing neon “O”)

No place to keep oneself
The missing “O”, circle of life, bodes ill:
bodies forth brooding youths
hot with blood, lurking late
on Self St., lined with litter, alive
with recent ghosts.

Meanwhile, in the chapel,
the faithful light candles—each
a grudge—to St. Rage,
patron of knuckles, whether bare, brass, or broken;
shove fists into pockets and finger beads jammed deep in their dungarees,
heavy with sweat,
and lift their prayers and curses skyward,
or wherever they may be heard.