'Tassels & Brown Legs' by Paul Beckman

Brown legs brown boots white tassels no socks, turquoise robe hood, trimmed in black, turquoise shorts, black trim shuffle shuffle skip skip punch punch drops of face sweat fall to canvas skips bounces in place shadow boxing crosses self

red satin hood climbs steps  manager steps on bottom rope pulls up middle rope brown legs step through black boots red socks red tassels red laces  skips around in circle  grabs corner middle ropes kneels bows head prays  crosses  points up  gets up

out of robes center ring staring inches apart  touches them up  goes to corner  bell rings gloves touch and pop pop pop skip skip hook body shot body shot straight right down sees mother and wife hands to mouth gets up six count

pop pop pop skip skip dodge weave  jab jab hook hook clinch hook hook cross cross skip skip back back back corner pop pop body body clinch clinch head butt separation warning jab jab jab weave jab weave weave pop pop pop pop shuffle side shuffle side  swing forward pop pop pop eyebrow leaking blood shakes head

looked right roundhouse left uppercut back on ropes hands up punish body punish body hook body hook hook hook head shot head shot no return

referee waves arms hugs loser  no no no  winner stands  ropes gloves aloft si  si   si  crowd chant  chant  chant referee raises winners right arm chant chant chant  blood on turquoise robe eye closed  blood dripping  winner  loser hug loser raises winner’s arm   mother wife hug cry

Originally published in Gravel Magazine.


  1. Love this -- an unexpected emotional response to all those nouns. Great to see this story again, PB!

  2. I like the punch in the words.

  3. Drawn to this by the title and wasn't disappointed. Loved the movement in the words. Well done Paul!

  4. Outstanding as always Paul!!!

  5. Replies
    1. And I absolutely love your comment. Thanks.

  6. Such an inventive form. Feels like the rat-ta-tat of machine gun fire. Perfect rhythm. Bravo, Paul.


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