GLADIATORS for LOVE

Face to face, surrounded by an adolescent thicket
waiting, excited; they stand and stare. ‘Leave her the fuck
alone’ one grates. A shake….of the head and they collide.

Two Bay City Rollers, hard country lads, who knew how to
Stand and fight. Wincing punches traded, the hard crack
Of knuckles, on cheek, nose, lip, head, draws a rabbles gasp.

They go down, one atop the other, and piston like the fist
rises and falls. Muffled, muted moans seep out, as lips bust,
ears bleed, cheeks swell, eyes close and muscles ache.

Standing again, crouch-like, waiting ready. ‘Had enough?’
Bent, breathless, glaring, feeling the pain and sense of loosing.
Spit and blood, pained tears of defeat, defiance, pride. Round two.

No words these friends now; only split flesh, blood and bruises speak.
A ritual, hewn by the crack of bone on bone. A teacher who,
stood by like a coward now arrives, ‘He’s had enough’, and he had.

The circle of crows breaks, and the trance of grit and ugliness, of
Passion and anger is taken. Sickening excitement and fear over,
For a girl…a prize, possession, passion, pride…in a school yard.

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