Shadowboxing

He fights his memories,
often cornered by them in random ambushes, the flash-mob
throwing jabs and uppercuts while he staggers
against the neural ropes, brawling with his
life, its mortifying figures
casting behind him as shadows.
People who see him boxing against
invisible opponents
think he is restless, or crazy, but
it is the only therapy that keeps
him from curling up in a fetal position
as the amygdala gangbangers take turns
kicking him in the hippocampal gut.
He always tries to fight back against their
hazing, his fists focusing the emotional
excess to fend off
the challengers that step into the
limbic ring.
It is a tick, an eccentricity,
a necessity. Punch the
memories away. Here he swings a
haymaker against the recollection
of the time he wet himself in Middleschool while in want
of a restroom; and here is
a straight left, followed by a right hook
to knock out the vicious memory
of his first attempt to get a date
for the Highschool Christmas dance,
stuttering and sputtering as if
already suffering from boxer’s brain,
the mnemonic concussions coming like a free-for-all melee tournament.
It is not suppression, Freud,
but sublimation; the means by which he
faces off
against his faceless shadows.
He tries to
curbstomp
his own feelings,
his shame and humiliation, his self-
loathing, and to embrace the ringside
grandstanding showgirls
of his first kiss, his first love,
his first bout of
lovemaking, only to be startled by the upset loss to
his first breakup, his first car wreck, his first
eviction notice.
He tries to pummel these shadows down,
to vanquish them with his knuckles
only to find them huddling out of reach
against the back wall of his
mind, dwelling there, eclipsing any and all victories
until the day he should lose the final
fight, the fight of Life,  which we always eventually lose, the bright lights of the cerebral ring turned off, the arena boarded up, and these belligerent memories at last subsumed by the final darkness, like
still, nondescript shadows
lost in absolute night.

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