Defense

Defense

i found myself
defending myself
as a christian
a free-market capitalist
straight and white
and a libertarian
the one
in the blue corner
said

i found myself
defending myself
as an atheist
a marxist
and queer and colored
the other one 
in the red corner
said

each fighter
after each round
went back to his corner
exhausted
puffed
of face
and wind
trying to make sense
in the din of the crowd
their corner men's
barking commands

after the bout
a 12 round draw
i asked both
why the hell
go
where you have
to defend
when there's plenty of places
to be alone
and never
have to defend

places
where there is no crowd
half of them
rabid
for their price of admission
for you 
to catch the blow
separating you
from the world
and everyone's reality
for a while

quiet places
where a fighter
only gets screwed
by himself
sometimes
instead of the places
where the promoter
and the crowd
screw
the fighter
always

both said
they enjoy the challenge
and the attention
of the crowd
and the thrill
of their corner men
dousing their heads
and their cocks
with water
while snapping
instructions
like medics
and platoon leaders
on a battlefield

they both said
they battle
because 
offense and defense
is better than nothing
that being alone
is like scratching all day
at a phantom limb
and itching 
over nothing
is nothing
while giving or receiving
a punch
in the face
is something
at least

each one
wanted to know
who i wanted
to win
so i told 
each one
i wanted
the best fighter
to win

each one said
things aren't always fair
and rules don't always work
in the best fighter's favor
so you've got
to have a favorite
despite
the rules

so i said
nothing's perfect
especially rules
and i saw
how blue
deliberately poked 
red in the eye
with red's receipt
a few rounds later
a measured 
tape-fisted
12-ounce blow
to blue's balls

so that must be the difference
between me
and them
somewhere 
between the itch
and the limb
either or both
real or imagined
for some reason
things
just aren't
the same

maybe
i'm too lazy
for all their training
too lazy
to build
their cardio
their finely honed
reflexes

and maybe
i'm too much the coward
to ever accept
their defeats
with any humility
of my own

or maybe
a crusade of self
interests me
little
cause this self
like the rest
isn't that interesting

a self
composed
of things
i either pray to
or don't
and things
i either wanna fuck or eat
or don't
but either way
any way
it all adds up
to defense
of our boring
selves
made a little less boring
when there's a crowd
and most
have turned in
their bets
while knowing
for either side
the odds
aren't close
to even

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