John-Michael Gariepy


I want to believe that I’m tough,

So, I shake babies and threaten old men.
I get in their faces and say “What?
You wish to make something of it?”
It has become ‘Go-Time’.I toss aside my jacket, he his dentures,
and we circle each other,
me: arms up, crossing my right foot over my left,
him: shifting his weight between his good leg
and his cane – hip ain’t been the same what since Korea.

I swing first. I fear the old man might get winded
and recognize my superiority, but he counters
and launches a barage of attacks. All of which
bounce off my chest. “Aha! An opening!”
I say, and kick out his cane. He has lost.

That is when suspicion develops in my noodle.
By overwhelming my ancient in hand to hand combat
is it not “I” who have lost
having loosened my morales like a showgirl’s corset?
I chuckle. “No.” I say, “I proved I’m tough.”


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