The pugilist

Does fate enshrine a few in a temple of fame while discarding others more worthy?

I don’t know how I’m world champion with a 40-4 record,
my punches are mosquito stings,
my dance is an unhinged waltz, missing beat, and tempo
my flabby arms and swing are an ode to the spastic,
my jaw shatters into fragments of counterfeit ivory
when they strike me hard,
and I’m scared, deer-spotting-leopard or ostrich-spotting-lion
scared,
I have no personality and cannot sell a fight,
my insults lack a preacher’s fire and brimstone,
my eyes tear up after a stare-down when I’m backstage,
away from sulfurous reporters with caustic spittle,
my paunch is repulsive, white dough that I massage
before dropping a fart,
my nose is a smashed in, little car wreck that I never bothered to fix
I don’t know how I’m world champion with a 40-4 record.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

For Real Toads and dVerse 

15 responses

  1. You describe eloquently the darkness and dilemma that consumes an individual. Especially like this phrase; “my jaw shatters into fragments of counterfeit ivory when they strike me hard.” 👌

  2. Your monologue is so effective.. it has a broader range of possible interpretations than the literal. Quite a metaphor for life, as I read it. You selected an excellent line to bring the poem full circle. i like how it has a slightly different meaning the second time around.

    • Thank you Frank. It’s true, and truer these days. The Mcgregor vs Mayweather fight is an example. It revolved around larger than life personalities with huge egos even though one wasn’t even a professional boxer.

  3. I have the tendency to look back on my accomplishments and feel like a fraud because I feel like I couldn’t have earned them. When I started seeing that same tendency in my son it worried me, and I wanted to overcome that. I think we have both learned a little bit to give ourselves a freaking break in the meantime, even though we can feel beat up. I loved the raw honest rhythm of a fighter facing insecurity even in the face of success. I think this is well written and I am glad to see this. I am glad you have joined us this “round” on dVerse, you have a skilled and vivid voice; and I hope to see you here again. 🙋🏻‍♀️

    • Thank you so much for such a beautiful, insightful comment. I’m glad you and your son have learned to relax more and give yourself some space. I’m glad you liked the poem, but I won’t be participating in any more dVerse or RealToads prompts on WP because of personal reasons.

      • Please don’t let one person’s reaction dissuade you, most of us at dVerse are laid back, and I for one was glad to see you on the trail, but whatever you decide, keep writing, you are good at it 🙋🏻‍♀️

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