TERENCE CRAWFORDJD Debris
No stories inside the heavy bag pouring its foam intestines all over the floor of the
no confessions beaten out of it despite being beaten
& beaten. A heavy bag suspended from
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....
the story rattles
around my skull as if jacketed in metal: Terence Crawford, boxer, counting twenties, fifties,
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
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
No song in the retelling, only wind through the bones of an urban legend. Then the skeleton
What I loved about Crawford, as I leaned over the balcony at Madison Square & watched
a Dominican ex-Olympian senseless, was his lack of panic, his laconic lean-back in the
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
His way of saying fuck y’all with a glance. Blood on black gloves. Steadily dismantling the
As he blasted through red lights en route to the Omaha ER, what laundry from that Cutlass’
staunched his rushing blood—a grey, sweat-hardened wifebeater or sock, an improvised,
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
sniper-steady dice & uppercuts, hitting lucky sevens & solar plexuses as if he’ll never miss,
has never missed before.