Poetry Power with Chris

This is the story of an Irish boxer in 1895 Boston who discovers that his wife is plotting against him with a local gangster that he refuses to work for to rig a fight that he refuses to throw…

THE PUGILIST

Emboldened and further, faster, harder, then once more

cast upon floorboards no worse for the wear much past a

new lost fight, the bloodied brawler eyed the bar room floor

last week’s lost wage lasted way longer when love wore

a sundress he bought instead of some lunch

at the prior address behind happier doors

the pugilist gazed at the scraps he had raised with

no choice but to show the enclosed note to Mary

the markings meant nothing, his schooling was this

regardless of hubris to the contrary

He stumbled with crackpots and rats after his shift

through alleys too filthy to breathe and tributaries

of waste kids played in with leaf boats smiling, and tripped

smelling of Guinness into Mary’s sweet voice

handing her his wages (minus a bit for the bar)

and the note he’d been handed by Seamus’ boys

it again reminded them “muscle is worth

more outside the ring if you know the right people

and have the right stomach for that type of work

and weekly chats at st pat’s cathedral”

standing alone on a floor made of packed dirt

she wondered if Seamus was, in deed, evil

she wrote a sly note and they plotted their worst

(from the first they were those kind of people)

in the house summer warmed, now cold at first light

the fighter rehearsed for love’s last purse

even as he took it the pistol felt right

her kiss was too final, like pulled in a hearse

the pugilist chooses going out in fine style

standing up and knowing all the while

why love left Mary’s sight

and though he wouldn’t live

to see what the judges give

the final bell

would ring like hell

for Seamus as well

that night

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