Monday, May 14, 2012

Morning Becomes Electra

Shun Lee was the preeminent
Bully of the neighborhood
And he ruled his empire
With an iron fist

He most enjoyed
Catching his prey unawares
The younger and more vulnerable
The better

It was only a matter of time
Before Shun Lee
Managed to catch up with me

I was walking in the project
With my good friend Saul
We were probably heading for
The hand ball courts before
We encountered the warlord
And a few of his henchmen

Seems like we caught ourselves
A couple of fish
This morning boys
He said to his entourage
Who all looked as though
They were only too eager
To spill some blood

My courage drained out of my body
Along with whatever reserves
Of strength that I might have been
Able to muster
I was in full
Fight or flight reactive mode
With the flight side winning
By a considerable margin

Saul on the other hand
Loved a good brawl
And truth be told
Saul was as strong as a bull
He loved to work out
With barbells
And he had the
Bulging biceps
To testify to his prowess

Ready when you are
Saul said to Shun Lee
Staring the wanna-be gangster
Right in the eye

Uh, not really, Saul
I stammered
(My yellow streak
Showing a mile wide)
What say we all
Just call it a day
And agree to go
Our separate ways?

But neither Saul nor Shun Lee
Was in a compromising mood
Before you could say
Jackie Robinson
Fists and belts were flying
And bodies were tumbling
In every direction

With all of the confusion
It was hard to tell
Just who was hitting whom

I was watching the brawl
From a safe distance
Across the street

I had managed to sneak away
While Shun Lee and his boys
Were concentrating on beating
The daylights out of Saul

Paralyzed by my fear
I could neither run away
Nor summon up enough courage
To come to the aid of my friend
(If he was still my friend after all of this)

When Shun Lee et al
Had spent their fury and anger
On poor Saul
They withdrew from the battlefield
No doubt in search of
More easy prey

Saul picked himself up
And brushed himself off

Cut and bleeding
His face now sported
Black eyes and purple blotches
He looked like he’d been
Run over by a truck

Where the hell were you
He asked accusingly
Wiping the blood from his nose
With his shredded shirt sleeve
I could have used a little help

You should have known better
Than to mix it up with Shun Lee
I told him
(Though I was thoroughly ashamed
Of my cowardice in the face of the enemy)
You’re lucky they didn’t kill you!

Screw Shun Lee!
Said Saul
Spitting out some of the blood
From the cut lip
He’d received in the scuffle
Screw the lot of them!

What should we do now
I asked him
I was feeling smaller and smaller
With each passing minute

We came to play handball didn’t we?
That was the plan I replied
You still game?
I am if you are I said
So let’s go and play
Some fucking handball then!

Lead on MacDuff I said
And damned be the man
Who cries
Hold! Enough!

Are you mocking me?
He asked
Heck no I said
That’s just my way
Of singing your praises!

I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none-
Macbeth, Scene VII, the castle

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

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