Monday, May 4, 2015


Sunday, May 3, London. - Monday May 4th..  Thinking of the people of Nepal - a poor but proud mountain people, and waiting to watch a rerun of the "big fight" which I saw last night "live" on TV ($35 to see in UK, and reruns allowed for 24 hours).

Never saw either before except Pacquiao being flat out cold on his face against Juan Marquez (a fighter Mayweather had defeated, but there was no rematch).  I assumed Mayweather would win unless Pacquiao knocked him out.  As has been said, he would have had to at least knock him down.  He no longer had the punch to do it, although he rocked him once or twice, and Mayweather said after the fight that he was "a good puncher."  But I was not impressed with either.  Am just a lifetime fan of the sport, that's all, by no means an afficionado -  "Greatest Fights of the Century" on black-and-white TV (10 p.m. east coast time saturdays was it..) when I was growing up sort of thing....   

The fight might have ended the same way even if both were in their primes as boxers.  (Paul Simon's song "The Boxer" comes to mind but one hopes that never happens, although I always relate that song to Joe Frazier, a good man, and the ferocity Smokin' Joe had in the first Ali fight, persistent and enduring, with the punch to back it up, would have been necessary for Pacquiao to break down Mayweather.)

I don't follow the sport much anymore.  I had never even heard of Pacquiao until De La Hoya, but I think his after-fight comment that Mayweather "didn't do anything" for him wasn't inaccurate, and personally, though Mayweather won, I thought it wasn't as clear-cut as the Judges and most others would have it/are having it.  Pacquiao was the aggressor, made the fight, but it was clear he wouldn't knock him out, and Mayweather was ready with his right as Pacquiao must have remembered Marquez was. Then there was that shoulder injury as he claimed. Since it became unlikely a knockdown of Mayweather was to be, it also became clear that Mayweather was bigger and stronger and had significant reach advantage although the left seemed to serve simply to keep Pacquiao out, and to measure.  

I heard that Willie Pep once won a round without ever throwing a punch, and Mayweather's own claim that he was as good as Sugar Ray Robinson (or even Sugar Ray Leonard), is a bridge too far.  Ali was faster as a young heavyweight than either of these it seemed, watching on TV or on the big screen in Buffalo the night he fought Cleveland Williams, whoa, - Ali's speed of hands not just feet, was unbelievable to see.  The hard straight left jab that got through the defense, etc.

But it was a good clean fight! Though Mayweather (on second viewing) did seem to wrestle a bit besides ducking and dodging.  

Well, never mind about all of that, all of this.  (and thanks to Allen Fisher, for publishing my previous short essay on a boxing match, "Frazier-Ali" - in SPANNER (number 6), and in the first SPANUAL anthology.  (For the best long and serious essays on boxing, there is Hazlitt's classic, "The Fight" and in a more modern era, Norman Mailer's pieces. )

("Same Day, Later")

My father died in 1984 and left me enough money to leave my dead-end part-time job as an Adjunct teaching Composition at Temple U. (a job I had held for 18 months to pay the rent, and for which I had been glad to have, returning to Philadelphia after a hard decade in London, much of it south of the river), and to travel for a time, so I collected myself, and was able, after two years, to journey to India via a stopover in London, and a pre-booked flight to Nepal from - where was it, from Calcutta or Varanasi....

After five days and nights in Kathmandu, I departed....I wrote this poem during my time there. (It was published in 1988 by John Rety (Hearing Eye) as part of my chapbook "Glimpses  of India and Nepal").

The allusion to "Rapunzel" is to the Kumari Devi.

There was the murder of King Birendra and his family by one of their own, and the attempted armed takeover by the latest version of Maoists and God knows what else, and the everyday life of the people, and now the earthquake. "Namaste" is a Nepali word which I was told translates literally as "I salute all divine qualities in thee" and is a greeting, like Shalom, or Iaorana.  Perhaps the "20 years" should have been 20 eons.


for over twenty years & still
the restless yearning lonely souls
have come togther
on the streets of Kathmandu

King Birendra's in his Palace
But there are beggars on the street
White Lighnin's at the Red Square
Steaks are at KC's
Rapunzel's in the Durbar Square
rarely to be seen.
There are curries at Sunkosi
Tibet is not yet free.

And all the restless yearning souls of planet earth
Will come together one last time
In the Hindu Buddhist heart of Asia
in the streets of Kathmandu

And the children they go barefoot
In the Himalayan foothills
The women work like horses
In the mountains of Nepal.
The poor man always struggles.
His house is cold in winter
While the rulers live like Maharajahs.
But holy men are chanting
In the dusty night-time streets of Thamel
Electric bodies turn the prayer wheels
In Kantipur

And all the restless yearning souls
Will come together one more time
In the Hindu Buddhist heart of Asia
- the streets of Kathmandu