Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Pre-fight Jitters Of Buster Douglas (Feb. 11, 1990)

My mother’s dead now. There is only this fate, this handicapped punchy rhythm that maintains me, like that damn plaque hung in the Coffeyville Hall Of Fame, and it is all for not; and I am strong, stronger than my dad Dynamite—or at least I have quicker hands. There is no telling what will unfold, what will come of this debacle, though the confidence in my reach and dance gives me a faint hope. The ring is a vacuous space, a thing with neither heft nor shape, just a lobbed mirage of holy ineptitude. Tyson is not human. I have these hands and these scars that skirt my memories like eyeliner for the soul. We are merely creatures of habit. Even iron bends at certain temperatures. More than we know happens all the time. Like a wild roundhouse uppercut, thrown in haste, which connects by sheer luck and sends somebody flailing grimly to the canvas. Nothing stays. Somebody says Tyson’s cornermen are not even going to bring endswell to the fight. All does not always end as well as we would like it to end, though being tethered to the most dire preconceptions might leave one swell (or perhaps swollen). Motivation has become just another excuse to lie low, to duck the jabs of the world, to play hookie, to run afoul and loaf. I find inspiration in the concomitant loops and turnbuckles of cloud that tremble and pluck blue from the distance. I am not scared. Yesterday a cow blocked the road. I sat in my car and waited for it to cross. I met its gaze at one point, as it lazily clomped along on the brittle pavement of that old country byway, and I felt its immense sadness, its shuddering grief, and in that moment I realized that there was nothing beyond that gut-wrenching look of despair. I was just another thing in a world of things. Tokyo is calling. I am loose and alive. January has killed my inhibitions along with my precious pearl Lula. I feel a ravaged, feral madness stirring somewhere deeper than inside. There are no stakes. Vegas won’t even take bets; they say I’ve got less of a shot at knocking off Iron Mike than a ringside popcorn vender. I venture guesses into Holyfield’s eyes, which will no doubt be coyly leering above the slight bend of his always almost-smirk. Never would he give as much away as he knows. What else matters but a purse? I am limping in my mind already, dining on sushi and seaweed salad, averting disaster one hot sake at a time. When one has less than nothing does one still have nothing to lose? My purpose is artfully beguiling, yet might arise a crises in its misgivings, or, more to the point, in its thorny understandings. Nobody remembers which years were leaps. He who lunges and stumbles will fall and be no more. My hands are heavy with rue. My head is silence. I’ll dot any “i” that comes around. Fill the furrows of my gilt-plated coffers with sugar water. Somewhere a bell tolls. The world is only longing and forgiveness. The curtains are drawn wide. A play of fan-blown air tickles my ears. A fly gasps. Somewhere in a circle that is a square they are calling my name. I lift my head.