Sunday, July 15, 2012

   Dementia Pugilistica
Pounding away with aching fists,
   he stands before a
taped and tattered heavy bag,
   and there mid-flurry,
thinks to himself,
  "I    will die    fighting."
And this somehow
   brings him comfort.

That his knuckles flash forth
to slam into bag
is not so much an effort to
send them out from innermost being,
but rather that the bag  pulls them in.
As if his fists were lumps of iron
and there at the bag's core
exists an irresistible magnet.

There an invite to hate, and
what is he    if not unleashed?
To damage.
To be   destructive.
This was never about
   the act of creation,
for to create would imply
   the intent to benefit others;
that others might flourish
from the fruit of his efforts.
   But no.
That is not him.

He was always one to
tear things down;
to    rip things up;
to    knock things over.
To sling axe and drop a tree
was always preferred to
the sink of nail;
the rise of wood;
the sheen of polished grain.
That which brings the rage.
For what is the application of varnish
  if not submission
to some excepted ideal?
What is the ultimate act of survival
if not a smashed and splintered chair?
Everything as tinder for the flame.
"I will die fighting."
And such becomes his mantra.
A repeat petit mal of the soul.
A daily validation for self-immolation. 
The wrapping of hands.
The donning of gloves.
The dip of a vasalined head
as it ducks beneath rope
into a four-squared ring.

The Ring.
The ring of the bell and its
blissful invite to execution.
Death in convenient segments,
each defined end to end
by some siren peel of steel. 
"I will die fighting."

Getting hit    while giving it.
This was his modus operandi.
This his subtle strategy.
He was not a boxer.   No.
Nothing so senseless as sport.
Forever stepping to his demise,
everything he threw
was meant to bring
the end of the world.
And instead
it brought him constellations;
collapsing galaxies;
a Milky Way maelstrom of ill-lumination
swirling away    just before
his punch-drunk eyes.

The bruise to the brain.
Its momentary blackout.
Synapses in mass, all reset to zero.
And yet...      And yet the ability to
step forward when asked to.
To have your name ready
when the question comes.
This was his one    true    talent.

Eleven times seven equals seventy-seven.
He acknowledged that there were others
who could compute this by
merely using their minds,
but how did this compare to
being able to correctly state your name
   at the end of an eight-count?

No one cheers when some
certified accountant
puts the books in black,
yet there three foot above concrete,
where blood oozes forth upon canvas
   to mingle with the past,
what is he if not someone to look up to?
A Journeyman.  
   A tomato can.
      An also ran.
A professional palooka.
"I will die fighting."
Of course its important
   to have goals.

   Saw you fight last night!
Ya didn't go down 'til the final round.
Yep. You sure can take a punch.
One    hell of a brawl!"

And ever the fighting cock,
he raises hands and assumes a stance—
though the only pose
they ever wanted from him
was best defined as
white outline upon asphalt.
And he says, "Thanks. Thanks.
   It means a lot."
Then finishes off with his catchphrase:
"I will die fighting!"
And everyone chuckles.
He,        such a character.

Just what character can you attribute
  to a punching bag?
One of so many suspended from chain.
One of many   with layer upon layer of
  duct tape wrapped about it.
There dragging out the abuse
'til the day its guts
spill out upon floor.

And what is the character
of this bag before him now?
This bag which   exists
if only to absorb a certain rage.
And he who stands before it,
seeing in it…    himself.
He who has known such hate.
Such hate as to make fists ache.
Yet what would it be to
deny enduring pain,
if not to give in
to a certain    death?

©2012 Jack Hubbell

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