Sunday, June 10, 2012


Yep, in my last boxing training session, I told Julio -- whom I'd been punching in our sessions as he teaches me form -- that I wanted to feel his punch. I wanted to know what a punch feels like!

I think it shocked him. And, later, he'd tell me that I'm the first student to request his punch! The first! After all those Peeps he'd trained! I'm really proud of that. I may never actually master boxing (but of course I'll never master boxing!), but I will have been one of its greatest students!* Which, actually, is not that far-off from my overall approach (to date) as a poet open to researching all sorts of topics: whether or not I will excel in a particular matter, I want to be one of its greatest students.

(But, yes, do note that parenthetical "(to date)" because I actually wouldn't mind switching gears whereby I narrow from the all to specializing in the one and indeed excelling at it. I just haven't found yet that one matter that's so compelling that it would draw me away from the rest of the world to it. And if that be moi path that's 'kay too.)

Anyway, so Julio punched me! Well, not my body but I slipped on his boxing mitts and he punched me there. WHAT A REVELATION! With his first punch, I immediately realized: to receive the punch is not to receive the power of his fist. Oh no! What I felt from Julio was not his fist but the power of his forearm and, presumably, the rest of his body from which that forearm emanates. The fist was not even (metaphorically) a presence!

To belabor the obvious, the punch obviously would be empowered if a boxer put his body behind the punching motion ... and the punch obviously would be empowered if the body behind the punch is in shape. That's EXACTLY how I view writing the poem! That is, the activities and research which occurred prior to the poet taking up the pen to write a poem is what will drive the poem. The author is not dead and that person's prior activities and preparations -- not a disembodied hand -- will make the hand, um, punch out a poem that will knock you out with its song, its beauty, its message, its power, ...

Such blather but I'm so amazed at not just the discovery but how it was so revealed quite physically (Julio is very fit!). I had not anticipated how the fist would play such a small part in boxing!. And, actually, this reminded me just now of how Meena Alexander told me (in my first book BLACK LIGHTNING), the poem is just the tip of the iceberg.

Of course -- without the body, there'd be no tip. Aren't I deep? Just Say Yes to that question as, Moi Dear, you wouldn't want to feel my ... punch!

* Reminds me of that period I studied kali martial arts under Gura Michelle; my sticks fumbled and bumbled but my kali poems? I'd like to think they bladed air! Speaking of blading air, I love this photo of Michelle making that sword dance (uh, I never moved like this either--maybe one of my goals is just to see how many martial arts forms I can bungle ... due to a more primary and primal goal: to amuse moiself):

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