The Gym

by Ken W Simpson

We waited
on the street outside
for Alf to arrive.

Up a flight of stairs
to the gym, with a ring
smelling of sweat and liniment
with a changing room
and a rack of cold and clammy
boxing mitts.

A speedball
racks of skipping ropes
and a heavy bag
hanging from the ceiling.

Alf, the trainer
small and foxy
admired my eye sockets
depressed he noted
so wouldn't cut.

wooden, saying little
a bucket carrier
he gave me
my only boxing lesson.

He held a bat
which I hit ferociously
with left jabs
as he moved it around
vainly hoping
for some words of praise.

I sparred with novices
just like me
and Phil
who had fought double bills.

He shuffled lazily around
as if nothing would
or could ever worry him
his left arm hanging.

He hit me
with a sneaky left
delivered from below his waist
a punch I failed to pick
which landed
bang on my nose.

"Hit me" he'd say
then cover up
as I threw punches
wildly, futilely, ineffectually.

An older black boxer
making a comeback
moved creakily
as he shadow boxed.

I knew
he had gone the distance
with a shock puncher
years before.

He was a polite guy
who telegraphed every punch
so easy to hit I apologized
but he only smiled.

Ken W Simpson

kenneth Walter Simpson's picture

I am an Australian poet specialising in free verse., A number of my collections are available online at Amazon and elsewhere.

Last updated February 24, 2014