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The Trainer

He sits in the corner, curled as a punch,
But placid all the same, accounting for
His pyrrhic losses, eating at his lunch
And sipping whisky with a petit four.

“The dainty roughs it out,” he says, “with sweet
And tough.” He crimps his toothless mouth. The gums
Are sucking glory while his withered feet
Begin to shuffle. “Seven rounds,” he hums.

“We thought all twelve; he went down in seven.”
He makes a fist – the knuckles gnarled and sprained –
And socks up an open purse for heaven.
Counting the seconds the way he was trained,

He rubs the rubber wheels that hold his chair
And pummels memory. The clock on the wall
Is full of feints and jabs. Perhaps aware,
He leans in – posterity takes a fall:

“He didn’t last,” he says. “I taught him all’s
He knew.” He dribbles whisky, glad to stew
About the past. His eyes are medicine balls.
“But didn’t teach him fuck all that I knew.”


  1. Jonathan Potter says

    Evocative. The clock on the wall is full of feints and jabs. Mmm hmmm.

  2. Jonathan Webb says

    Great, great poem. Thanks.

  3. Jonathan Potter says

    When is Korrektiv Press gonna get off the stick and publish your book(s)?

  4. Matthew Lickona says

    In the corner stands a trainer
    And a critic by his trade
    He points out the fighter’s failings
    And he tells him what he’s got to do is
    Counter, and then move in
    Work the body not the head
    Move your feet boy move your feet boy
    But his feet they feel like lead

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