by Devon Balwit
In the Ring
“…it is reasonable to assume that boxers fight one another
because the legitimate objects of their anger are not accessible
to them…You fight what’s nearest, what’s available,
what’s ready to fight you…” (On Boxing, by Joyce Carol Oates)
Pain spills its coin into my strongbox.
I plunge gloved hands wrist deep,
the weight like shackles, like fucking.
I hit the ropes, and they hit back,
raising welts in blood-swollen furrows.
The bell, the hecklers, infuriate
like hurled gravel, abrade like road burn.
Tomorrow, I will feel everything more,
my body blooming bruises. I punch,
but don’t hate who I hit, instead, hating
beyond him, everything that isn’t me,
my hand raised, staggering but standing,
applause streaming like sweat, everyone
stinking: the watchers, contenders, backers,
even the bigshots, who don’t give a damn.
Ganglia pull like stretched taffy, a blown seed head,
anemone-tongued, a color wheel metastasis, a labile
meadow moil, coolness bezeled in grey-sheathed
moon tone, all frozen as if the light had been flicked
mid-scandal, or the choreographer said, stop now, all
heeding, all caught up in the held breath of and?
(after Frantisek Muzika’s paining “Framasphere,” 1949)