Monday, 15 October 2018

A poem by Ron Riekki

About the Times I’ve Been Punched in the Face 

(With Each Line’s Final Word from a Poem by Chella Courington)

“spreading before the sun”
--Chella Courington,
from “The Pond Heron”
Punch and school go hand-in-hand like reject and write,
the way that so many fists have knocked the days

out of my face, its caves of blood. I once had a kid
beat me until I couldn’t see, a high school gym platoon

of bullies, and once where my collarbone broke, a boy
kicking me so hard that I—but this is about the home

of fists, the house of face, not about simply anything,
but rather that very specific violence, where the shadows

entered my head. Truth be told, I’ve made light
of things that were serious; I shouldn’t’ve used my voice

maybe so often. Or, hell, maybe it is about rising
up to the occasion with opinion in these tragic fields

we call the Earth that’s becoming an embarrassment for the sun
or maybe is becoming the sun, with pollution so bad that water

begs us for mercy, the near-extinct birds’ screaming beaks
punching for fresh air, as we so easily confuse pray and prey.

Ron Riekki’s books include And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press), Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Michigan State University Press, 2016 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal Great Lakes Best Regional Fiction), The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (Wayne State University Press, 2014 Michigan Notable Book awarded by the Library of Michigan), and U.P.: a novel (Ghost Road Press).

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