Get Up

A short and gripping narrative poem.

This abstract painting shows a ferocious boxer painted in black. His expressions hint at a recent victory.
“Untitled (Boxer)” by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1982)

“Get up,” father said,
As the tears streamed from my eyes,
“Get up,” father said,
His voice cold as ice.

I saw black before me,
But his voice echoed in my ears,
“Get up,” my father said,
“Wipe those bastard tears.”

My elder brother laughed,
Said, “Let him be, he’s weak.”
My father heaved a sigh,
“We’ll do this again, next week.”

“3,” the referee says,
My opponent before me,
The blood drips from my mouth;
He had shown no mercy.

I lie in a pool of my blood,
As I hear the echo of my fathers voice,
“Get up,” he says,
“Then win. Then rejoice.”

“2,” goes the referee,
And I see my opponents grin,
My father whispers into my ears,
“Go. Go and win.”

My hands lift me up,
My face swollen, bruised, red,
My opponent gets ready,
“GO! WIN!” my father said.

I see the punch coming,
Duck, kick him to the ground,
And as I beat him,
My brother makes no sound.

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