Fighter Man 2

“PIZZA!!..What ya doing with that Pizza?”
Me and my roommate, we used to buy a bunch of fast food
One day we were walking home with our pizza
The fried chicken guy saw us
He ran from his store and said, loud:
“PIZZA!!...I have children to support
What ya doing with that, where ya goin’ with that pizza?”


I didn’t do anything wrong
I didn’t drive her away—she left
You learn only from doing, from each
fight, a little bit from each
He was known as the “hit man” the “invincible”
You got to find the “tell” and when you’re antsy nervous
you’re ready—that doubtful, antsy fighter feeling


The stream is narrow and I can just lift my foot across
The mud crumbles on each bank, so I slip
My new white sneakers are wet or will be—the water seeps in
I feel nothing, no sensation and stare at the old stream from above
Small acts of kindness may be all that he can see or grant
If he steps inside, strategy wise, those long arms
with their violent reach won’t touch him


They objected all of them—didn’t think we really loved
As it turned out, they were right about you...
He was a little difficult at times, but affable a great deal of the time
He told his daughter how none of the great things in life
have anything to do with earning a living
The marker was on the ground where it lay untended
The name on the dilapidated stone hidden under brambles


Don’t put on airs, bitch, you’re a shoemaker’s daughter
and I’m a farmer’s son—every job after the farm seems good to me—
every new job beats the hell out of shoveling shit...
Honest as they had to be, dishonest as they dared to be
with a rage at the fortuity of life, all that dullness and greed
I might of meant that at one time she said, but I don’t mope about it or lash out
She smiles at him, “No one before you ever did that for me”


Real fighters don’t fight ‘cause they’re mad, they fight ‘cause they can
“Should we stop the fight?”
“Well, his tongue is hanging out of his mouth, he’s drooling and his eyes are white...”
She was nuts—every headache was a brain tumor, every upset stomach an ulcer,
every cold a rare case of pneumonia...
He didn’t hold it against her that she was always scared
He loved her anyway quite deeply


How, after he’s gone, does she know what to like, what to disdain?
Ill health and financial pressure would sometimes eat at his self-control
Don’t cast me aside, she said, don’t even try...
In his 20’s he fell off his horse and nearly died
It felt like sleep, death is like sleep, he’d say
He was a good man to have around in a tight spot, no fear...
Always calm when the shit hit hardest, then always calm, she told me


-April 22, 2012-