Bare Knuckle Boxing

Based upon “Rodeo” by Aaron Copeland

Finalist in 2014 HSLDA Poetry Contest

Why does the crowd cheer?

In the adrenaline-surging, yeasty stench of beer,

The stage is set, fluorescent lights bearing on our sense,

We have jousted in this ring as time transcends.

Treading guardedly, alternately ballerina and beast,

Out of this box, anger finds our shredded kinship deceased.

In our cold waltz of pride and appearance,

Perseverance fades into black incoherence.

Thud, hit the floor, Whhhaaa the crowd cheers!

As my spine splinters, I turn my back to your sneers.

Though my gloves dangle at my sides, it is my eyes you cannot see-

Egged on and enraptured in this fracas feminine insanity.

Bruises mangle your naked form, rosy with rage,

You turn from me too, and we mock the stage.

The cackling crows of the crowd do not languor-

Even alcohol blood can taste our anger.

Look by the nights drawn in the pain of our past-

Memories of childhood in red crayon dashed-

Private pains and internal struggle-

I kneel at your feet, let nothing muddle

The drop of the drawbridge that will ensue

If your pocket my precedent, the way you used to.

I tossed us amid the raucous crowd, this hate was my decision-

Flowing fury that tickles our skin and blurs our vision.

So take your loving hands from their sharp sheath,

Fingers are fists, nails bite palms like teeth.

Inside the sweat-stained clasp of a boxer’s glove,

Follow me- just once more- and we will rise above

The cheering of this crowd.