YYC POP: Poetic Portraits of Poetry, a Sheri-D Wilson Laureate Project


– Alex Williamson

Boxing Diva Queen beats a symphony of leather and muscle and sweat
she coaches in grunts and curses and shouts.
Most nights she has her husband, two dogs and child with her.
Family make a life, I’m just trying to bully back a few more years.
Twist your fucking hips! Put some power into it!  
I’m seeing so many stars, wreathed amongst them I see her too
a magic princess with monster arms.
I twist my hips more, punch harder.
Run fast, little bitches!  
She screams, madly delighted.
The first night I make the run without stopping I cough so hard people think I’m going to vomit.
Don’t worry, if anything comes up its just mucus or blood.
You look so fucking boring right now!  
Back on the bag, no break, I think I hate her. I drive 45 minutes to get here.
I pass a dozen other boxing clubs,
what is so special about this cavernous gym with all its ugly graffiti?
I am riding the back of bronchial collapse and she doesn’t care.
I am not going to make it through the hour.
One two hard right left hook! Yes! That was amazing babe!  
I still can’t breathe but I’m smiling now. All is a forgiven, she is a goddess again.
She breaks into a dance mid demonstration,
the twerking light at the end of my oxygen deprived tunnel vision.
I scrounge deeper into my hurting lungs.
Find the patches still soft and pink nestled among the grey spiderweb scars,
make the living cells work work work with every hit.
Nobody else pushes me healthy with such savage kindness.

Alex Williamson

I believe all of my writing is a search for an answer to the question “what does it take to change a life?” I am a boxer, a fencer, a student, and I live with Cystic Fibrosis. Most days I’d rather be under a blanket with hot chocolate and poetry.  

Photo of Alex Williamson