Vol. 1, No. 1: The First Pitch photo

TERENCE CRAWFORD JD Debris

 

No stories inside the heavy bag pouring its foam intestines all over the floor of the

repurposed warehouse;

no confessions beaten out of it despite being beaten

& beaten. A heavy bag suspended from

the ceiling

never hangs completely still. Untouched for hours, watch it twitch at the end of its chain

after the white,

cylindrical lights no longer buzz & steel gates clang across the entrance. A few boxers walk

home, gloves slung

over their shoulders, discussing slasher films. A few await an illicit delivery, linger out front.

A few drive

to a muddy riverfront & spar bare-knuckle in moonlight.

One boxer, thrown out of his

mother’s & sleeping in his Cutlass,

wakes at midnight, finds a dice game, strikes lucky, rolls a streak of sevens....

Even now,

the story rattles

around my skull as if jacketed in metal: Terence Crawford, boxer, counting twenties, fifties,

hundreds

in the front seat of his Cutlass—then a bullet piercing tinted glass. The rest? Promoters love

to tell it

(sells tickets) & I admit, I tell myself in those weak, tremoring hours, how Terence

Crawford, with a bullet

in his skull, drove himself to the hospital.

Sometimes I repeat it, hammering emphases:

bullet skull drove HIMSELF.

Terence hates retelling it, resists the redemption narrative, the slick epiphany. He makes a

million off

a fight these days, goes home to Omaha, goes fishing.... Slow that shell’s rotations to half

the speed of snowfall,

you’ll trace its path around, & not through, cortex & tissue. Ballistics offers a story, but no

solution.

No song in the retelling, only wind through the bones of an urban legend. Then the skeleton

goes missing.

~

What I loved about Crawford, as I leaned over the balcony at Madison Square & watched

him clobber

a Dominican ex-Olympian senseless, was his lack of panic, his laconic lean-back in the

pocket, pawing,

parrying like he had eternity in the Garden, no rush to action. Then, the sudden southpaw

shift in stance,

the strike, the sting, the straight right hand. What I loved was his sadist’s streak & quiet

arrogance.

His way of saying fuck y’all with a glance. Blood on black gloves. Steadily dismantling the

threat.

~

As he blasted through red lights en route to the Omaha ER, what laundry from that Cutlass’

leather interior

staunched his rushing blood—a grey, sweat-hardened wifebeater or sock, an improvised,

tangled tourniquet

of handwraps? He’s been shot at eight times since, his estimate.

A chorus: these streets

are—this sport is—war

& what’s war resolved? Nothing, yuh?

A chorus:—with Cutlass, laundry, & blood—for

Terence Crawford’s

sniper-steady dice & uppercuts, hitting lucky sevens & solar plexuses as if he’ll never miss,

has never missed before.