William Conable, 2/15/2010

Current Occupation: poet
Former Occupation: ship’s mechanic, competitive cyclist, Boy Scout, boxer, etc.
Contact Information: William Conable takes long muddy rides in the hills of Concord, California. His first collection of poems is forthcoming from City Lights.


Fair Trade

He doesn’t look right in those clothes.
Fresh out of some Mexico City gym,
probably took a long walk across the desert to get here.

Heavy browed,
lean. beef jerky lean—
face looking like granite,
ready for some poor bastard to break their fist on it.

Looks scared (even for all that stone).
Trying hard for confidence- telling himself
“Keep dancin’ baby, keep dancin”.

Waiting now,
Hands spread over bent knees, so many broken fingers,
muscle fluid and twitching.
He’s looking right at me.

Me, watching from behind the counter
all marshmellow and Yes on the morning whip for my Mocha.
I know he’s next.
Is today his day for a knock-out?
The verbal jab, jab, Hook—

He went from hitting to staying hungry.
Who wants to see him work now?
No one in this city.
No one.

He can sense it,
corner snuck up on him.
“Keep dancin’ baby”
(he don’t know he’s dying, going extinct)

Gloves up,
tuck that granite chin.

At the sound of the bell
“Sir, the manager will see you now.”

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