The Flyin’ Lion of SF

He rides around
the city on
his bike

often times
wearing a
tank top

his 50 year old muscles
taut and firm
showing through

His smile, just
as taut, just
as wide as the
bay bridge

and I remember
meeting him
at City College

we never spoke
but we had a class
together, political
science

and I remember
the lion tattoo he
had on his arm

it lay on his shoulder
ready to pounce (and
sometimes purr) upon
any problem or obstacle

later I enrolled
in the school’s boxing
program

and I would see him
work out, pushing himself
and pushing
others to push themselves

he weighed a buck and a
quarter while I weighed
in at a buck and a half or so

Once, we were thrown
into a circle where we proceeded
to “go to the body” and he
hit me with a six punch
combination to the gut

(I’m not sure if it was a six
punch combination, but he
hit me with so many shots
that it could have been anywhere
from 6 to 60)

Later he turned pro
and was on a winning
streak and I thought that
he might be a world champion
someday

(A one in a million)

and one day I saw
him fight the
“Golden Boy” on TV

and during the introductions
the camera caught his face
and he mouthed the words
“San Francisco”

and he fought and came
up short and the “Golden Boy”
went on to more gold while the
words “San Francisco” continued
to ring in our ears like a bell
ending a fight

and what followed
was more wins and
some losses

(more wins than losses)

He nearly beat a fighter
who’d go on to become
world champion

(He had the guy down but
let him off the hook)

And after 20 years of
fighting he hung it
up

He now teaches boxing
for a living, always thankful
to those who taught him
the art—for free

and he rides his bike
from gym to gym, his
head of red hair still
brilliant, his body still young

A tooth is missing
when he announces his
smile but his heart fills
in the gap

And he rides the
circumference of
the city

a city not large
enough to hoist
the championship belt

that is
him

(c) 2015 Tony Robles

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