Tyson might have been the last of them, an Eighties killer who captured our hearts for a time, but it ended ugly, and it was the darker parts of our hearts which were touched, awe mixed with fear, sprinkled with hate– something primal, a shining-sweat mingling of pride and shame. There were a few after: Holyfield, Bowe, Lewis. Still, boxing wasn’t the same after the Seventies. Sure, there were plenty of men who could fight, plenty who had heart. You need the heart of a lion to even get into the ring, ready to go the distance with another man who hits just as hard and trains every day to be a murderer with his fists.
Ali though, now there was a hero. There was a man who brought us out to cheer, and when one slipped by– when he got hit, we got hit as well, we all felt it. In wood paneled living rooms, and in the worn-door corner bars, we felt the gloved fists slapping against our own flesh, smashing against our own bones, left woozy for a half-moment, but determined, as the impact echoed out of plaid covered speakers, Howard Cosell provoking in a toupee amid the squelch and static hum.
But when Ali was on, when the universe reminded us of forgotten divinity, you could hear music– old street-corner soul, diving and rolling, sliding ‘round the side as he moved– and the magic was dancing around the ring. Watching, or listening, we all knew we could do anything, while still high on the fight’s intoxication. And even the men he beat loved being beat if they were beat by Ali; they cherished each bleeding wound. Though it hurt their pride, and yes, they went home without the belt to a quiet room while fist-raised crowds cheered Ali in the streets. Still– if you had to lose, and everyone loses sometime, it was alright to lose to Ali. There was no shame in that.
It was Ali Frazier 3, the Thrilla in Manilla, two titans fighting half a world away. Most of the fights had only been broadcast live on the radio back then. We’d be able to watch on TV days or weeks later, seeing the pictures of the the red-gloved gladiators slicing though the hot-light atmosphere in the sports section of the newspaper long before the fight lit up the dark gray convex of our small screen televisions, bringing the sagging-shelf boxes flickering to life.
But for Ali Frazier 3, they simulcast the fight through closed caption television. The big venues had it, crackling through black wires, and even the common man might witness the electricity. And we did, though I was just a boy. The horse track in the next county, 30 miles away, had the event playing. My father and I watched on a bank of television screens hung high in a loud, white room with tall glass windows and speckled, beer and coffee stained tiles. I strained my neck and stood on tiptoe to see past and around the checkered flannel men. The black emptiness of night stayed outside as our hearts filled with hope for heroes in a gray decade.
Frazier had been the first man to beat Ali, and for sure he was a man with heart, but it wasn’t enough to mend a wartime nation’s broken hopes, and we all wanted Ali to take the belt home, to win– for us. Even though Ali could be a real ass, crossing the line when taunting the other fighters, we all forgave him, even laughing, glad we hadn’t said the things he’d said– but often wishing we had.
And that was nearly forty years ago, with no impossible heroes arising to save us from our melancholia in the decades between. But the coffee is good today, as is the company while I write, and February’s sunshine is warm enough– if you’re inside, watching old reflections dance and weave on tall glass windows.
Firstly, if that’s a word, she doesn’t want your money. All proceeds from sales of this book benefit the fight against addiction, starting with Kids Caring Foundation and Stand up to Addiction.
A friend wrote this book of her struggle, and as importantly, the struggle her daughter faced in overcoming heroin addiction. On a decidedly bright note, both are now doing well, putting the pieces back together.
Thank you for your consideration, WordPress friends 🙂
Don’t you lock up something that you wanted to see fly.
This guy gets it. Great cover of a timeless song. He made it his own.
I know this is a poetry blog, peppered with other silly nonsense that I might write, but I’ve found myself thinking lately on the impotence of poetry in comparison to some other forms of expression. Sacrilege, I’m aware. Particularly when we’ve deified the simple poem, promoting the torn-paper poets to superstars and timeless sages. Time itself will decide the truth or falsity of that. For what it’s worth, I’m no poet– the moniker has been corrupted, but I write some poems.
Music takes the simple poem and gives it life, depth, and new dimensions where only the greatest of writers can achieve anything on a similar level with just words. Even art, where the artist spends hours, or days, or weeks, maybe even years on a piece– doesn’t stay with us long enough to be loved, each piece admired briefly, and then cast onto our piles of memories, its intricacies and subtleties soon forgotten.
I might do some more recordings for those who’d like to hear the poems as I’d heard them when writing them. Yes, I often write out loud 😉 Still, it isn’t music, the emotion of a poem sterilized in ink, a voice quieted.
I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.
Charles wrote this as part of his piece, ‘an almost made up poem’. You can find the entire poem at the link below, as well as some detailed thoughts by a fellow wordpress blogger. I can remember many parts of the poem without looking, but this line has always been the most moving, the best remembered. This, and the ending. And then there is the idea of the poem itself, written to her after her death. Written TO her, not just a poetic ode written as an afterthought to fill an empty page.
Love does not die, had it been truly love. It stays, even if we’d not been able to live our days within its comforting embrace.
“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.”
I eat the red jellybeans first. After all the red jellybeans have been greedily devoured, even if small children must be shoved aside or tricked to secure them all, I then seek the red-derived jellybeans, the pinks, and the purples. Once the bounty of red, pink, and purple jellybeans has been exhausted, I lose interest rapidly. I might revisit the bowl periodically, in passing, to poke around and see if any new jellybeans of my preferred colors have spawned overnight. I might even eat an orange one, but I always regret the decision afterward. I feel that I’ve settled for less than what I wanted, less than I’d deserved, and the bitter aftertaste of self-loathing lingers.
I never, and I do mean never, eat the white or the black jellybeans. I suspect they were invented as a practical joke to make children, and adults who have forgotten how bad they taste, make funny faces. The green jellybean exists for the sole purpose of being shot out of one’s nostrils. Both nostrils at once earns extra points. Of course, accuracy is important as well. There’s art in precision. Green jellybeans should not be eaten before, or after, nostril-shooting. I’ve no idea why the other colors exist. Perhaps the were developed just so that the children will try some, deciding they don’t like jellybeans, and then leave the bowl alone so that distinguishing adults like myself can eat the red ones without any further interference, discussion, or pesky pleas to share.
I’m not sure what all this says about my character, or why Ronald Reagan thought jellybean eating methodology had any bearing on anything at all. Jellybeans, as good or as bad as they might be, are no metaphor for life. Though life may be both sweet and sticky at times, or eventually it seems, lethal, that does not equate to wad of hastily swallowed jellybeans lodged in one’s throat whilst two green jellybeans clog the nostrils. Life will kill us with or without jellybean asphyxiation.
Does it then speak to our gluttony? Our generosity? Scram, kid. The red ones are mine. Does it speak to our discerning taste? Our ability to write lengthy prose about jellybeans?
Maybe Reagan was already going over the deep end when he fired this arrow of wit into the crowd.
Maybe Reagan mixed the white and black jellybeans and was suffering green-smoke-filled hallucinations as a result of ingesting the noxious concoction.
Maybe there’s still a red one left. I’m going to go check.
I blame Lauren for this post. I was just sitting here watching Adele sing love songs to me on the TV but Lauren INSISTED that I post this instead.
I’m not a good blogger. It just isn’t me. I’m not the type.
I don’t write about current events. I don’t even watch the news. The Sunday newspaper is still sitting in the transparent pink baggie in which it was wrapped when the paperboy threw it onto the roof. It’s Thursday night and it’s still up there.
I’m sure that if I climbed onto the roof and opened the unread Sunday newspaper, or if I read a news website, or if I could figure out which of the three remotes turns on the TV, I could find something blog-worthy upon which to write. I could find something which requires that blog readers take sides, to cast their opinions. I’m certain that I could incite a riot of words, capitalized shouts followed by several exclamation points, and threats of violence, or threats by readers to never return. And then, I could tell them, defiantly, that I don’t care if they do come back, and that they should check their shorts for lumps to see if they had produced any brains yet. But I’m just not a good blogger.
I’m not topical, I’m not particularly controversial, and I don’t do consistent themes well. I bounce all over the place, changing directions erratically, like a sugar-addled spittle-grin kid on a motorized Pogo stick. A morning piece might be a love poem, or ten poems nestled in one, if read closely. By afternoon I might be writing, in a nasally tone, about the best method for shooting green jellybeans out of one’s nostrils, or I might be typing the surprising demise of a Zen monk, tossed off of a misty mountaintop whilst peacefully meditating, and of his bouncing off the cliff face on the way down. Surprise! A friend told me that I have ADHD. I could do a topical blog on ADHD, I suppose. But I can’t pay attention long enough, and I’m just not a good blogger.
I write my fair share of shit, but I don’t have the keen nose to know which topics will attract flies. That ability and predilection is a gift, or a curse, and I’m not sure which, but I haven’t stepped in it.
I’m just not deliberate. While not above questionable prose, I’m not good at turning prose into a deliberate question, something that entices readers to comment their thoughts. It’s not that I don’t care to know anyone’s thoughts, I like other people’s thoughts. Sometimes. It’s not that I’m so narcissistic that I only care about my own opinions, although I did manage to start every single paragraph of this post with some form of “I”. It’s that–- well, I’m just not a good blogger, but I still write a blog, and I’m okay with that, and if you aren’t okay with that– well, then check your shorts.
It’s too damned serious around here.
It’s been nearly forty-five years since I was spawned. They pulled me out of a yawning, bloody hole in my mother’s stomach; she likely still has the scar. I suppose it’s time for a mid-life crisis or two. Maybe several, each a spectacular, fiery display of futility. All I’ve done in the way of rebellion so far is to grow a beard. It’s a scraggly thing, but I’m keeping it, because it puts people off.
I didn’t buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle, nor a hi-powered motorboat. I do have a red sports car, but its almost three decades old and it tried to kill me with unintended acceleration the last time I drove it, so there it sits, leaving oily puddles of various fluids on the garage floor.
Speaking of oily puddles of fluids, I haven’t diddled any nineteen year old tight-skinned tennis-skirt brunettes either, well not since I was nineteen or so. Unlike some, I know better than to go there now.
Women worry that they become less beautiful after bearing children, and after bearing the weight of life’s baggy-eyed angst for decades. They worry that men won’t find them attractive anymore. They worry that they don’t look like the nineteen year old tennis-skirt brunettes when they are forty, or fifty, or sixty, and they don’t, and that’s okay; they’ve overlooked the beauty found in depth of experience, and in wit. They’ve overlooked the beauty of compassion which comes, gifted, from time’s faceted diamonds of understanding. It’s a beauty seen in the eyes, and it’s in the heart.
Yes, some middle-aged men, in flailing pursuit of lost youth, will chase young tight-skinned things around, and maybe even catch one if they use the right lure, money usually. But once the sweaty sheets dry, and the pulse settles, they learn that, most times, there’s nothing to talk about; the chasm of experience is too wide to traverse, and when there is nothing to talk about, all there is left to do, is to listen to yourself die.
The clock ticks loudly, and slowly, brash as a guillotine blade falling between the wooden emptiness, drowning the hollow muffle of youth’s daydream banter in its pounding clicks and in its dread-filled pauses, each second, as spent, a lonely reminder of expiry’s nearing proximity, though it creeps without relent, as the slow hand moves ‘round.
A slightly older piece I found. I have writing left all over the place, some lost in the couch cushions, and some under the stove, alongside my lost marbles. I’m moving most of that worth saving to here. Don’t mind me.
Writing is just talking. There’s nothing to it, really. We all talk, at least sometimes. We all have something to say, at least sometimes. To take it further, we all have something interesting to say, at least once in a while. The rest of the times might just be our own silence, which is just as necessary. If we don’t ever stop talking long enough to listen, to take in new perspectives, forming new thoughts of the mixture, or just to experience, then we don’t really have much new to say, or to write, because writing is just talking.
Some might disagree that writing is just talking. I’ve proposed the simple truism before in conversation, and have even met violent opposition to the notion. I’d say it, casually, just talking like I am now, and then be verbally thumped on the head with a rolling pin. Truth, though evolving, is better understood through repeated example, so I’d hold my ground, perhaps suggesting it with different phrasing; talking is really writing. I’ve now several lumps and dents on my skull, but I remain undeterred, and I’ve also come to learn over the years that the truth is often painful.
When talking, unless you’re Shakespeare, we talk in prose. We might break things up into half sentences, or single words, mere bestial grunts in some cases, or barbaric yawps in the case of Walt Whitman– and that of my Uncle Louie, now institutionalized and kept sedated. We break all the writing rules that had been scribbled on the blackboard by our jiggling-posterior teachers. And that’s okay. Writing is still just talking, and talking is writing as well.
We don’t, however, unless Shakespeare, talk in poetry. It’s an oddity, but it’s the way many of us here first choose to communicate, to talk, with our writing. We write poems. Were we to encounter someone talking in poetry in our daily interactions, we might be tempted to thump this person on the head with a rolling pin. Clearly, the poor fucker is malfunctioning. A good kick might help as well, like when the Buick is only running on five cylinders instead of six, as expected. It’s for their own good, and borne of our general love for humanity. Love is often painful too.
What of these poems? What of these peculiar utterances that we offer as communication? If writing is talking, and nobody talks in poetry, then what the hell is it? If writing is talking, would poetry then be our unintelligible morning mumblings? The insane echoing shrieks and barbaric yawps of lunacy? Some might suggest that poetry is the prophetic wisdom of the soul. Let’s not get carried away. Most of us are nitwits, anyone reading this to be excluded from the generalization, of course, though I will, in fairness, include myself. I’ve much to learn.
My dog often barks at shadows. I’m just as likely to write a poem about that as about any other topic, finding some poignancy in staccato-yapping futility, and half-smile joy in its simple amusement. The meaning of a poem might not be clear to all, and that’s okay. I wrote it, and it isn’t necessary that the world understand or be moved by it, any more than I would expect everyone to notice when I walk into a room. Only my dog does that, and she barks at shadows.
Still, poetry too, is talking, just with a different voice, a part of us to which the everyday world had not been privy. If we aren’t too careful with our structure, phrasing, meter, and rhyme, the reader might even begin to figure out who we really are. A poem leaves an emotion behind, a part of our essence, a sticky residue on the shoes of anyone who ventures though its fields or down its wooded pathways. Poetry is our art, our purple-crayon impassioned scrawls, and art seldom comes with inscriptions to explain its meaning. Instead, we walk away with an emotion, be it simple or complex, or we sniff the air, trying to figure out who stepped in something.
Tho sometimes, poetry is a wish for approval, or praise, a mask worn for others, the words– a clever disguise worn over our true identity, or a brushy camouflage with only our red clown noses visible through the leafy foliage of words, and if not talking, and not our art, then what the hell is it, really, and for whom was it written? Who had been worthy of our willing subjugation, of our counterfeit brown-parchment pretention? I’d rather bark at shadows. That’s where all the best poems are found anyway. The dog knew all along.
In my twitching early-morning compulsion to connect on Social Media, as has been recommended by the swami-hat marketing gurus, I’d decided to look at Twitter again. I never did quite figure it out, and even the name, ‘Twitter’, I find distracting, as it conjures images of restless, squabbling blue birds with no eyes, fluttering out of the the fly-opening in my Spongebob pajamas. I don’t know why that image comes to mind, and I don’t know how the little blue birds, blind as they are, got in there anyway. I just pray they never find a worm and fly off with it.
I have about 1200 Twitter followers, although I have no idea why they follow me, nor I suspect, do they have any idea why they follow me, in most cases. I follow most of them back, and I even look at what they have “Tweeted” once in a while. I can’t figure out most of that either. Much of it seems to be encrypted in a code of some sort, using strange abbreviations which only deeply-immersed undercover-agent double-identity Twitter people can decipher. I’m at a loss. I’m just an idiot with a WordPress blog.
Today, I’d noticed a section of the new Twitter page which invited me to connect with others which Twitter had recommended. “Sure thing.” I thought. I can never connect with enough people with whom I will never actually meet, and who speak in strange internet dialects which, being over forty, I am unlikely to ever understand. I clicked, despite the second thoughts.
There they were. Thousands of them. Millions, perhaps. The list was primarily authors. Twitter had decided that I might enjoy “Twittering” other writers. I suppose that might be true; a writer’s life can be a lonesome one sometimes. Though I have a predisposition for “Twittering” redheads, and I didn’t see any immediately apparent on the list. Besides, it was much too public a forum for such things. I read their short blurbs about themselves. Each and every one was world-renowned, or a best-selling something or other. I’d never heard of any of them, of course, but that means nothing. I’d only just recently heard of Dean Koontz, who actually is a best-selling something or other. Perhaps all these Twitter people really were best-selling something or others, and they had taken to Twitter’s virtual anonymity to hide from the screaming crowds of fans. I can’t say I fault them for that.
Still, I feel left out. I feel like the source of the odd smell which wafts from the bottom of one’s shoes after a walk in the park. I need to be a best-selling something or other. I need to learn their language, and learn to promote in tongues. But first, I have to get rid of these damned blue birds pecking at me in inside my Spongebob pajamas.
That is not a worm, dammit!
..Also saved from the ashes of an old blog. Time hasn’t helped. I still don’t understand twitter.
Hair. Most people have some, if not on their head, then surely elsewhere, although then it becomes a private matter.
As my hair became more sparse, partly in response to parenthood, which gives even hair follicles suicidal tendencies, I decided to keep mine short. My thinning hair looks less noticeable now. I look just like all the other dads whose hair has fallen out. Life is easier now as well, at least in regard to hair maintenance. I look exactly the same whether freshly showered or just awakened, hungover, and wondering why there are two lipstick-wearing alpacas in my bed, one crookedly chewing on my underwear, and the other smoking a cigarette. Alpacas have a lot of hair, by the way. I was a bit jealous. As a side note, I’m never drinking tequila again.
The boy is nine. The first twitches of self-awareness are itching, crawling around in his mind like the ticks he often brings home from the woods and nearby fields. Fashion sense is beginning to render him senseless. He had decided to grow his hair long in front and on top. Apparently someone famous, of whose existence I was not even aware until told, wears their hair that way, and all the nine year old girls like this famous person.
There was a time, not too long ago, when he was quite taken by Justin Bieber, specifically his hair. I don’t know much about Justin Bieber other than what I have seen on TV, and on the internet. I know he had some trouble walking a straight line.
I found myself trying to coach Justin as I watched the footage, “Aim for the line in the middle, Justin! You can do it!” It’s unknown if he tried to snort the line or not. It was a short clip.
In any case, the boy doesn’t have the right kind of hair for Justin Bieber hair. Like mine, his hair is thick and wavy, and when it grows out a bit, there exists what is known as, “Bushman Phenomenon”. When this happens, the hair lunges at odd angles, as though leaping out, attacking anyone nearby, and perhaps itself. Entire spear and machete battles can be seen being waged amid the dense brush atop one’s head. Onlookers withdraw, stepping back a few feet, without really knowing why. They pull their children closer. It’s a quiet spectacle, one without definition.
Tonight, the boy has reluctantly agreed to get a haircut. I’ve invited the entire defense line of the Philadelphia Eagles to my house to help hold him down when he changes his mind mid-cut. Nine year olds, while not terribly strong, can be difficult to subdue, as they writhe and scream of tyranny, complaining that somehow, their hair hurts. Their one superpower is their vocal ability, a sound blast which can knock satellites out of orbit.
After the screaming subsides and the wayward hair is collected from the floor, I intend to make another boy from it. Perhaps, this one will listen when told not to burp in church, though I have my doubts. I was nine once too. Now, I am forty four, and I still don’t listen.
An older piece saved from the ashes of an older blog.