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The writer is the one not falling.I’m Still Seventeen

There's no more fighting, at least in the ring. And no more punching, and that's a good thing.

There's no more anger and no more pain, I punched it all out of my battered brain.

And what a relief I have to admit, I hated the grief of getting hit.

A boy in the past, inside of the ropes, his blood ran fast with burning hopes.

He lived his young life inside the ring. It was worth the strife, and worth the sting.

Punching out anger and coming out clean, soaking in sweat–I was seventeen.

My punch is still strong, my hook still cracks, but when life goes wrong I’ll never go back.

To step in the ring and punch someone’s head? Why would I cling to a me that’s dead?

The air of the past is old and stale, I would never last, I’m old and frail.

A paper tiger is what I am, a former fighter, soft as a lamb.

Boxing’s a game, ugly and pretty, it’s tough and tame, sublime and gritty.

I still dream about the boys I’ve beaten, and try to forget the punches I’ve eaten.

There’s no meaning to it anymore, but I’m stuck back there in yesterday’s war.

I sit on a chair and watch TV, who’s ever fighting–I only see me.

I watch the fighters and I bob my head, I’m thankful and glad that it’s them instead.

I bob my head as they get hit. The danger is gone and I safely sit.

I was tough back then but not so much now. I’d do it again but wouldn’t know how.

I look in the mirror, my face is still lean, my old nose is straight, And I’m still seventeen.

Peter Wood was a 1971 NYC Middleweight Golden Gloves Finalist and was selected to represent America in the 1976 Maccabian Games held in Tel Aviv, Israel. His two memoirs, Confessions of a Fighter and A Clenched Fist are available on Amazon Books. Comment on this article

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