Green Hills Literary Lantern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Toughness

 

 

I want to punch the ice cream vendor in the jaw.

It’s the chill of violence that makes me cold.

If I freeze my head like a popsicle

You couldn’t hurt me.

Your knuckles would bleed on my shivers.

There is something about winter

That makes me numb.

I can’t be hurt unless I thaw.

I hitchhike on the highway.

I get run over.

The ambulance pulls over and lines me up

In an ice cube tray.

When I was hit in the temple at the White

Plain’s Civic Center,

I wanted to ask the referee to give me

A ten count

But I couldn’t speak with snowflakes

In my throat.

A spinning red light is barking above me.

 

 

 

 

On Teaching an Chasidic Jew to Box

 

 

Somewhere behind those Jewish eyes there are menorahs

And religious artifacts.

You hang in God’s museum amongst conservative displays.

On the far side of your withdrawal

There are worlds you don’t know,

Footsteps a Chasid doesn’t follow into secular polish.

Shine on Chaim,

It is your enthusiasm for boxing that scatters your red beard

Upon the mat of divergences.

Your boxing is renegade to your community and tears down

All the stop signs.

In the nineties I made a rap album called the “Renegade Jew.”

But I was never as courageous as you

Skipping across the lily ponds like a stone thrown

By an irreconcilable street gang.

 

 

 

 

The Wrong Woman

 

The rain in your hair is a hard shower to take.

The glass you have found in your hands is full.

You drink heaven’s beads

And find them shotgun blasts

In your gut.

 

Wake up, son, it is drizzling bullets.

These petals are sharp.

They cut your lungs.

You cannot talk near their fragrance.

There are spaces in your breath.

There is pain in the interruptions.

 

Love is a blast and then there’s the bleeding

That takes place in the parking lot

After you’ve been shot

And stomped,

Near whitewalls,

By high-heeled solutions and attraction

To the wrong woman.

 

 

David Lawrence has published over six hundred poems.  His latest book, Lane Changes,  came out in November 2007 from Four Way Books. His documentary, "Boxer Rebellion," about his boxing career, played at Sundance Film Festival.