The Mat


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He doesn’t think of his wife when the man on top of him tries to crash an elbow into the side of his face. He doesn’t think of her continuous rejections, the years long denial of his want, as he reaches down, twisting himself just so to grab the man’s ankle and with a quick shift and turn of his weight, a pivot and heave, releases the guard position he has been in and finds himself now behind the man. But the man turns swiftly, rises to his feet, and they crouch, loom at each other. Kicks are parried and countered. A jab slipped. A hook finds an ear. A cross finds his mouth and he feels that, the stinging sweet swell of flesh and then blood in his mouth, the cut inner lip. He likes it. It’s a reminder that this is real. This is what is happening right now. He flicks his tongue into the cut, draws the mouth guard down into position with his gloved hand. Red a smear on the grey leather. And, he doesn’t think about the inescapable loss he feels when he looks in the mirror first thing in the morning, glancing up from the hot stream of piss…

He sees the man across from him in the ring not as a man but as an object and he shoots forward to bury his shoulder into the object’s hip. He grasps the man’s legs at the knee joints. The smell of him is raw. Sweat and adrenaline tinged, feral. Both of them. And he doesn’t think about his dreams, the ones he had when he was young and hopeful. Or the fact that he doesn’t allow himself to dream at all. He posts up, the weight of the man on his shoulder and then he falls forward and down, propelling the man into the mat, onto his back. The man’s head slams back then recoils as he mounts him. And then for one moment, he sees the man. The man is looking at him and within that moment all possibilities are there – the openings, the angles, the choices and his eyes are like his. They are green and wide but then he stops seeing the man and unleashes everything that he was not thinking onto the object’s face and chest until the man, the object, bleeds as well.

3 Responses to The Mat

  1. Leslie Peterson says:


  2. raw visceral energy, interwoven with physical double entendre. the delicious pain of escape from loss in life.

  3. John Salgado says:

    Good Work Gina, Wheres the Rest?