Thursday, May 15, 2008
E tan - e epi tan
Oh Gawd save me I'm beaten.
I sees the shadow of the whole crowd in the bowl hanging over me. I can hears the animal roar, the lust for another man's stuffin'. They'd have cheered me like me own mother if I stood over the rubbish of his corpse and the referee raised me fist. Now it's jeers.
All fours. He hit me again when I was on all fours. Hit me low. Bit me. Spit at me. It signified nothing. I'd have killed him for the money. I'd have climbed from the ring and killed his family for a finnif. I'll kill him still in the alley like a git-em-up guy for the money if I get the chance.
All fours and the blows stop. There's a ringing but I'm jerry too. There's a light in my eye that ain't shining but I'm blind with it. I can feel him standing over me. His sweat is dripping on me. If I put one foot flat on the canvas he'll hit me like a train; if I roll over the referee will end it.
The crowd is like lions when the zebra stumbles. They're on me too. I never been beaten before. I don't know what to do. How to act. They teach you to be a loser at school but here you only get to learn it the hard way.
There's a long time in the tick of the clock. I remember the nuns all those years ago and the drowsy hot afternoons. My head is like that, with the buzzing. They tried, oh they tried to get the numbers and dates and spelling into my head, but I couldn't listen 'cause I was born a gone gosling. It all swum in front of my mind's eye like a carousel at night. They said that boy's gonna grow up with no ideas but bad ones but there's nothing for it he's a dynamiter at heart.
One thing I remember from them dusty old books: Come back with your shield, or on it. A mother of Sparta was Irish, I guess, and who knew?
If they carried me out of here dead after the head and head game was settled I'd rest a thousand years no worries. But there's no mercy in it like this. I'll live and the little faces will arrange themselves around the table tomorrow, and the wife, the loogan's wife, she'll look at me hangdog and the bowls empty, and say nothing. If she said something we could shout and break the furniture over me winding up back of the fifteen ball again, and maybe I'd feel better. But the faces are all mute. I'll whisper I'm a dirty nose over and over to myself but she'll never say it. She don't have to.
I look up into the glare. There's a halo around his head like a stain glass window when you need confessin'. The referee is bringing his arm down like a poleax, over and over, with the counting. How many? I don't hear. He only calls the fouls after the blood is drawn, but now he's all business and he counts like a clock 'cause he's a hunnerd percent heel.
I look up at the johnny-come-lately face in the halo. He's afraid I'll get up. I'm afraid to stay down.
How can I lose?