Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘The Kickboxer’s Story’

by Larry Brody


Another true story, from a time in my life before the Navajo Dog. There were blanks in this one that I had to fill in as best I could, so, yeah, let’s just call it fiction about how things never turn out the way we intend, hope, or expect…and yet some of us at least survive.

The Kickboxer’s Story

We were the best once, the three of us. Packy was the champ’s Champ,

Three different weight classes at once.

Rosie was the best woman fighter on the planet,

Did a spinning back kick that slammed your ribs right up against

Your spine. I was the Middleweight Professional Karate

Champion of the World. We traveled everywhere together,

Fighting and teaching and fighting some more. It sure

Beat staying in Pacoima, watching our brothers

Die for turf. Rosie was Packy’s little sister,

But I loved her almost as much as I loved him.

Couldn’t wait to get married, although I had a lot of

Convincing to do. At last she agreed, but we had to settle

Down. No more jetting everywhere. Pick a good, healthy

Place and have kids. I liked the idea of it. Besides, I was

Getting tired of being kicked in the head. Things that’d

Been easy for me to do, and to think about, were starting to

Get real tough. People would come up and slap me on the

Shoulder and say hi like old buddies,

And I wouldn’t remember them at all. So we found this

Place in the north Valley, and I rented Rosie a house,

While Packy and me opened a school.

A comic book company started writing about

His adventures. The Leader of the Pack! and even included me

at his side. We were retired, but we were famous!

At least, Packy was famous. I was Smilin’ Sammy,

His shadow, the dude you had to get through to try him.

The school did good, and Rosie and I

Did better, and we had a son. Bobby was a great baby,

And he grew up big and wide so he didn’t look like no Barrio

Boy like me. Then the gangs discovered the school,

And me and Packy were fighting again for real.

Action in the parking lot! I tell you. More

Kicks, both given and got. Eventually the gangbangers caught

On that we were more trouble than them, and they started

Coming to learn. We opened a second place, and you know what

That’s like. Lost our asses. Couldn’t make any of the rent.

Packy hit the road again, fighting for dough,

Sending it back to Rosie and me. With her teaching now,

Working beside me, we got out of the jam.

Football turned out to be Bobby’s thing. At fifteen,

He was the starting fullback at Canyon Country High.

All right! Yaay, Bobby! He had good moves, and a

Future that would’ve turned Packy right into the past.

Then one day Rosie and me got a call.

Police wanted us to come and look at something.

Turned out it was Bobby, and he was dead.

He was out driving with some friends who were

Teaching him how to work a stick shift, when a

Carload of gangbangers came up and

Shot him twice in the chest. Cops had the guys that

Did it, and Rosie and me, well, we knew them from the

School, thought we’d really turned ‘em around.

I cried my eyes out, but Rosie stayed strong.

Not a sign of what she felt. We talked, though.

How we talked! All those years, all that work,

And “Where’s Bobby?” “Oh, he’s planted real nice

In the ground.” But Packy was still famous,

And I was still Smilin’ Sammy, the dude you had to get through

To try him. I went to the Church, but nobody there

Had an answer. Went back to the graveyard, and asked

Bobby instead. He hovered over the gravestone, Like a

Shadow on the wrong side of the sun,

Looking more like his old man than her ever did in life,

And he told me he’d been thinking, and talking to some of the

Folks up where he was. Said God had been worried about

The company he was keeping, and decided

To take him before he could go bad. Said it was okay there,

Not to worry, everybody knew us, and wished us real well.

I kissed Bobby good-bye, went home, and told Rosie,

And now she let out her tears. Hit me harder than

She’d ever kicked any opponent, said she hated

Me, and hated her brother still more. She packed her things,

And she lit out the door.

I love my wife, and I love Benny, and once I even loved

Being Former Middleweight Champ, but now I keep trying

To think. Not even Bobby was able to answer my question,

So I’ve got to put it to his new friends.

Can one of you angels please tell me,

Why even when you win,

You get kicked in the head?

Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.