thoughts on a sudden poem

Even now, these several months later, the sound reverberates in my head.

I was half-asleep, seated on an extremely crowded R-train. To my far left, the sound of elevated and angered voices arose. Two young men. I couldn’t make out much beyond “What, you mean THIS shoulder?” And within seconds the two of them were having at it in glorious battle.

The opening salvo was a work of pure genius. One young man had reached over and grabbed off the other’s glasses before proceeding to head-butt him several times in the face! The sound was almost indescribable – something between a CRACK and a THUD. But I was firmly struck by it, and felt myself gladdened to be approaching an age too advanced for such brutal and vital things.

Around the entwined combatants a few people screamed. One woman shouted “How dare you!” in a reproachful tone. Amazingly, the fellow who had taken the opening blow had managed to regain himself and deliver a few punches of his own. Then, much to my relief and chagrin, another young man stepped into the mix and pried the two fellows apart.

As they were separated, a crimson and gushing gash was visible on the cheek of the one who had taken the initial shots. The other guy appeared frazzled, perhaps at his opponent’s tenacity in coming back from an opening attack that would likely have KO’d a lesser man. “Are you okay?” asked one woman from off to the side. “You better ask HIM!” he shot back.

It was a magnificent display.

Nowadays, in an era where poetry has been reduced to so much self-absorbed whining, you have to ferret out the beauty in found things.

This I have done.

To those two young men on the train: Yours was a beautiful and terrifying poem.