By Stephen Saab
I must have been different, I did not grow up playing with toy guns nor dolls since I’m not gay. But living near the open wide field, we boys of my age have slingshots but I could never afford to hit a bird or fish because I imagined it was not right to take away a gentle life out of an innocent thrill.
Besides, didn’t god made them too? It was always on my mind and I didn’t feel comfortable even if lola would jokingly said to come home early so she can have the birds cook in adobo, our all-time favorite. A cousin caught not one, but two tiny Mayas and we rushed home. It was irresistible not eating them even if I was sort of guilty.
So what has the sport of boxing got to do with this? frankly I don’t know. I just don’t like a person, not even through sports, hit another as a way of saying he is strong and powerful in a brute way.
To me it’s a reflection of man’s brutality practiced way back the ancient times and I don’t like to be a part of it. It is not civilized to physically hurt someone as a sport entertainment, even more to cheer the victim and dishonor the loser.
My best friend’s eldest brother had no choice but got to boxing because there was no other means to go out of poverty. On his second and last amateur fight, he died of brain hemorrhage. He was 19 years old.
My friend never told me but I knew he was disturbed because he kept to himself for a while and I refuse to be affected of the denial and focused on going to the library. And I discovered the power of poetry.
Poetry became the means of understanding human strength and weakness, as you encounter traces of violence that challenge the heart and mind perhaps much more severe than hurting the physical but feed the wholeness the body and soul.
The “sport” of poetry is discerning what the poet has to say, hitting you with truth, wonder and even lies. Not all men and women can take them.
My ex-wife do not read poetry because to her it is deep and waste of time. Like an abstract painting but she refuses to stretch her mind. My two children, both teenagers are “work of miracles.” Like me, they love to read poetry more than the illusions of gadgets gave them.
When they were still young they never fail to ask me to read them poems before we sleep at night.
I know boxing is here to stay. This generation never outgrow the manifestations of violence. But thanks almighty poetry remains in the hearts of men and women even if they seem to be vanishing. But hopefully not. Poets will soon rule the world-again.
Editor’s note: The author hails from Surigao del Sur.
Artwork courtesy of BBCCOM