October 9

comments 22


His left hook split your face and sent
your brain to visit the farthest reaches
of your skull, your head bobbing on
a sea of fractured shouts receding
into a single point of
high shining


The cut kept opening up like a family secret.
They made you stop before you lost the eye.

You went to war, re-crossed the Atlantic,
survived, came home, got so drunk
at times that you let my dad drive.

He was five,
steering the boat of a Buick down
Old Fannin and over the Spillway bridge,
headlights pouring out across the Reservoir,
water consumed by the night.

We laugh about it now but Christ.
It’s a wonder I was born.


I was alive before you died
but you were already ebbing.

I mostly remember you as a voice,
stumbling over words like
bourbon over rocks—
smoky, sun-tanned, gruff,
and I remember, I felt loved.


His left hook split your face
but from the cottony somewhere
you heard the count
and the lights flickered on.

You swam back through the ropes
to jab and block the cross
through curtains of blood

but the ref called the fight,
technical knockout,
defeat by decision,
and the thing
was done.


Drunk, punch-drunk,
sometimes you couldn’t
tell your son from a stranger,
a gardenia from your wife,
you were lost in your now,
an immigrant again.


And then the Sunday punch—
you kissed the canvas and didn’t get up.


Did it slip by you as you slipped
through the ropes, or did you mark
the ending beginning?


Where is home if you were born on a boat?


Was it loss that made you drink,
or was it a means of returning?



[Note: Something a little different! This poem, Requiem for a Bantamweight, is back from its most recent rejection, 130 days, form letter of course… I still like it though so thought I’d share it here]


    • Thanks, Yusra! I don’t know, I’m pretty sure the odds of getting struck by lightning twice is still better than getting into most journals… thanks goodness for blogs I guess 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Harbour Admin says

    It’s definitely a lot better than anything I have written. Did you submit to “Poetry”? Their acceptance rate is so low there, that if you did get rejected, you are not alone.

    One thing I noticed in the poem (maybe this is the reason for rejection) was at #1. You started new lines before anyone could take a natural pause- do you get what I mean? Like if I said, “I stared through the window at the pine tree,” the most natural pause would be after “window”. They also happen after commas and periods, obviously.

    Not all poems work with a lack of them. You perform this concept much better in #4.
    I hope you get what I mean, because maybe I sound like an idiot. But if you tried mixing this part of the poem up with some more pauses at the ends of the lines, it would flow better.

    Overall though, this is amazing! I wish I coulld write something as amazing as this.


  2. Pingback: The Week’s End // A Round-up of All Sorts of Interesting Stuff | ZEN AND Π

  3. This was an amazing expression of a life unfolding and then coming to an end, but not without a legacy, lives impacted. The lines that really popped for me: “you were lost in your now, / an immigrant again.” And I really could see that kid, like other kids, driving for the parent who had lost themselves in the bottle.


  4. Addison Taylor says

    This is brilliant! So glad I stumbled upon this because it is absolutely wonderful.


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