Saturday, February 18, 2017

February 18: Question upon Question, W. Todd Kaneko, "That Night the Big Boss Man Was Hanged"

It's amazing, when I read W. Todd Kaneko's The Dead Wrestler Elegies, how many of the wrestlers committed suicide, like Big Bubba Rogers.  There's something about the sport or the pressure of the sport (or the performance enhancing drugs that some take) that doom a lot of the wrestlers.

Suicide is terrible for the people left behind.  Rarely are all the answers available for the survivors.  Things like "Could I have done more?" and "Why?"  Instead, there's just question upon question.  Families who have been touched by suicide live with uncertainty.

For anybody reading this post who's lost a loved one to suicide, I offer the hope that things get better over time.  Pain recedes, and what's left are, hopefully, happier memories. 

On this sunny, warm February day, Saint Marty wishes everybody joy and laughter.

That Night the Big Boss Man Was Hanged

by:  W. Todd Kaneko

That night in Philadelphia, Big Bubba Rogers
was done battling outlaws on the road.
He locked himself in a cell to wrestle
the devil sheathed in leather, the blood angels
in the rafters with several yards of rope.
The Big Boss Man chained the Undertaker
to the cage, rattled handcuffs and nightstick
across skull and wishbone until the dark
prince's eyes rolled back in his head.

After that match, my father called me,
a road trip planned for the two of us--
two men and a station wagon on a quest
for stars, a campfire, a tavern where a man
can meet a woman and not worry about her
whereabouts in the morning.  After he died,
I found his notebook, dog-eared, wine-stains
describing the Cow Palace, the Omni,
the Sportatorium--the old arenas
where he and my mother fought for love.

Everything that is dead lies still
before it can return as a phantom.
When evil spirits offer a man a length
of rope, when a man finds a rope looped
about his collar, when panic forms
in the body like Big Bubba Rogers
with that noose tight around his neck,
everything stops.  Sometimes a man
finds a way to save himself, sometimes
he just kicks his legs in vain as he rises.

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