It’s not fear that drives a man
to commit those brutal acts
he writes about. The self-proclaimed
king of the Mexican Death Match,
Moondog Mayne bashed his own head
with a chair at night, chowed down
on live fish before charging blind
into a fight. Nothing scared me
until that day I woke up, discovered
I had become a man sometime
between thirteen and thirty.
It’s not death that thwarts a man
as he plans his own demise.
That cockcrow, that bow
and arrow, that clock a man strikes
to mark his capacity for pain —
Moondog was gassed those nights
he ate lightbulbs before falling
from turnbuckle to concrete, fueled
by a fifth of Southern Comfort
when he punched out a brick wall
because he was not afraid of anything.
Fear stems from a left hook,
not from any pure locus situated
beneath my sternum. Not fear,
but poetry — that sensation of flying
a man feels right before he tumbles
down a flight of stairs, that fleeting thrill
of a car crash just before the road flips
into the sky, the sky into that long
plunge through the night.
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