"The Wrestler" Poem

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 02, 2012 1:01 PM GMT
    Heard this on NPR an hour ago, thought I'd re-post:

    (audio version aticon_smile.gif

    The Wrestler
    by Kazim Ali

    My flat breath grows flatter. Who am I now, thick in the tricks
    the body plays? No matter.

    The fact of this day on fire and these arms twisted
    in the effort to master another

    draws me in time breathless to the afternoons as a boy slick
    with sweat and laughter,

    horizontal in a spin, one of us in control
    and the other on his back and bested.

    Later I would read in heaven’s books
    how my body was wrong, though limber and strong.

    In the web of our efforts I aim to fix a position
    where the other’s strength ebbs and mine kicks in.

    Strength splintered to pieces,
    a shard in the other we each struggle to reach.

    We give in turn, strip down and shift.
    I reach for one limb with my right hand, grip harder to another with my left.

    Our bodies flash their thunder and lack.
    I strain for what I’m owed. I read heaven its riot act.

    NPRA Muslim-American poet and novelist of Indian descent, Kazim Ali's work has been featured in Best American Poetry and the American Poetry Review. He teaches at Oberlin College.

    For Ali, the assignment became deeply personal. About his poem, "The Wrestler," Ali writes that he found inspiration in an ancient Greek mythological story about Meleager and Atalanta wrestling — and themes of power and love. "The wrestler of my poem," Ali writes, "does not believe what he's read in 'heaven's books,' but rather the intuition that his own breath and body, in movement with another, offer him."
  • O5vx

    Posts: 3154

    Aug 02, 2012 5:43 PM GMT
    This is a very expressive poem. I love how is words are almost so coherent its almost like he is living that moment every time people reread it again. Very good work.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 02, 2012 5:59 PM GMT
    I wrote a poem called "A Hold On Me (Wrestler's Ode)" and made it a song for my documentary. It's more about dealing with homophobia when you're an adult man wanting to wrestle. Here it is: