August 10, 2018

Daniel Gleason

SHADOW BOXING LATE AT NIGHT

With fists raised high and jaw clenched tight,
sweat dripping down from worn out clothes,
you’re shadow boxing late at night.

You practice punches left and right—
slip then jab now counter and pose
with fists raised high and jaw clenched tight.

Past battles, all the pain and spite,
the final round’s about to close.
You’re shadow boxing late at night.

Recall the end of every fight:
adrenaline and bloodied nose
with fists raised high and jaw clenched tight.

Your prime is gone—can’t get a fight—
knees ache and creak; your movement slows.
You’re shadow boxing late at night.

This is all you know; you clench it tight
unable to block the unseen blows
with fists raised high and jaw clenched tight
you’re shadow boxing late at night.

from Rattle #60, Summer 2018
Tribute to Athlete Poets

__________

Daniel Gleason: “I started playing soccer at age eighteen when my family moved back to Tennessee from the Philippines, and ever since I have been smitten with sports. In college, I played goalkeeper and coached the team’s ’keepers after a chest surgery sidelined me. When I taught high school English, I coached the school’s soccer teams for eight years. Now I coach my six-year-old son’s team, and I have taken up a new sport, as well: boxing. For the last two years I have trained and sparred, and I have started doing some coaching, too. The discipline and creativity required for sports runs parallel with writing, and boxing in particular has so much in common with writing. I like to joke that I can’t tell the difference between them, that I literally don’t know if I’m boxing or writing.” (web)

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