the rugged old right cross

He’d been close to the big time,

If not to be a god of the fight game, perhaps a demigod;

He’d been possessed of considerable brute strength

And the ability to shut out concern for the well-being of others,

But there had been the odd chink in his armor:

An overhand right which announced itself too early,

And arrived just a smidgen too late,

Plus an unhappy tendency to lose focus,

To stray from those plans his corner had set up chapter and verse,

Choosing the forbidden fruit of the quick knockout.


He had, after losing a bout to a top-ranked fighter

(He was eighth in the world, he would chuckle ruefully,

And I fought him like I was eight years old.)

Decided to chuck it all in,

Enrolling in a scruffy little bible college

Sitting just off an interstate on-ramp,

Cheek-to-jowl with a Wendy’s and 7-11,

In order to facilitate the transition from mayhem to ministry.

He’d soured on the process in fairly short order;

He understood instinctually that he, like all men,

Was a sinner, and likely unworthy of salvation,

(And the faculty accentuated the notion daily, if not hourly)

And that any deliverance would come down to the least contemptible

From down on high.

He’d inquired, gently, as to addressing the worrisome paradox

That all men were imperfect beings

Marooned on an imperfect world,

Yet their fallibility was all they had to build on,

(A rickety ladder to scramble upwards, for sure,

But the only way to reach that golden fruit

Held out for him, though just beyond his grasp.)

The responses varied, from sputtering and vague parries

To the suggestion that such notions were heresy,

And so he’d taken his leave of the place,

Returning to the club-and-casino circuit

Makin’ the best use of the gifts I have, he would sigh,

Before heading out once more,

Hoping to find one more short right at least one more time.


(AUTHOR’S NOTE:  This piece shares a title with this highly recommended collection )





2 thoughts on “the rugged old right cross

  1. The thought of a boxer turning to the pulpit or as you put it “from mayhem to ministry” makes a strange amount of sense though going the other direction does too? I guess the see saw is the point? In any case, I really liked this one.

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