Save Me Joe Louis
When I was small no one stopped the fights.
A man could beat you till you died,
the crowd leaning in, you on your knees,
maybe somewhere someone says, No,
but it’s like spoons dropping in kitchens:
enough to make someone look up,
not enough to get them moving.
The ref’s just glad it isn’t him
trying to stand, shading his face
like he’s coming out of the movies
into winter sun, shock of the world
made real again — brutal, to be sure,
but America is like that,
unrelenting, you get what you ask for
in the ring or on the kitchen floor.
Someone always wants you to give up,
shake hands, wipe the blood away and talk
of lighter things. And you do
because you’ve been fighting long enough
to know there’s no one here to save you.
A Word From the Fat Lady
It isn’t how we look up close
so much as in dreams.
Our giant is not so tall,
our lizard boy merely flaunts
crusty skin- not his fault
they keep him in a crate
and bathe him maybe once a week.
When folks scream or clutch their hair
and poke at us and glare and speak
of how we slithered up from Hell,
it is themselves they see:
the preacher with the farmer’s girls
(his bulging eyes, their chicken legs)
or the mother lurching towards the sink,
a baby quivering in her gnarled
hands. Horror is the company
you keep when shades are drawn.
Evil does not reside in cages.
by Gabrielle Calvocoressi
This entry was posted on Monday, July 24th, 2006 at 4:51 pm
Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.