A Fist Gutting

Rodney the Tormentor came toward me,
a slick sneer edging the mug of his leering mouth.

He prepared the next barb garnished with a delicate sliver of dry ice.
What was he going to find to ridicule this time?

My hair too long, too short?
The art assignment a pathetic attempt at literature?

My bowling action; a cross between a mental patient and a broken wind-mill?
Knees too bulbous for any normal person?

I thought, not today.

I’ve had this, like this, for almost two years
each day a new torture, a new laceration of clean practiced words
and me accepting the torment with the dull weariness that comes only from unkind relentless repetition

allowing the beast fresh meat
thinking, hoping one day he’ll stop
surely he’ll tire of the incessant need to ridicule
believing one day the ‘turd’ jokes will dry up

but they never do

such is the never-end brutal articulation, the
verbal incision, the cruel words of blunt destructive beauty:

teenage confidence stumbling like a novice boxer
dribbling with fresh bruises

but not today
the animal hunted turns
to find precision and strength in defiance

it is the time to wound the wounder
and then all
that follows

‘Rodney the Tormenter’ going down in a windless scream

one blow
two years in the forging

one first and final blow
one strike one out

a fist gutting and nothing gets back up

the art gallery attendant, the other students on excursion
the teachers, all as if complicit in retribution like a magicians audience;
look the other way

and Rodney down solar-plexus perplexed

the swift shock in defeat
and a new entry in the part of Rodney’s brain that stores
future possible outcomes to hitherto unchecked actions

decades later I can still see his face in that ghastly micro-moment: pain, shock, horror
and most surprisingly






MChallis © 2005/2014