Throat Punch

Recently, I started writing a few poems based on snippets from television, usually ones I hear as I’m walking past it on my way somewhere else. At first, I thought of this as just an exercise to get my creative turbines spinning, but then I realized things intentionally taken out of context can make for some interesting poetry.

Since starting this experiment, I’ve come away with a few poems I like and a few others I actually feel I’ve poked, prodded, and molded into something much better than I could ever have hoped for. Those few include the one below and another based on awkward erectile dysfunction advertisements. (I’ll save that one for another day.)

The Inspiration: A while ago, I heard an angry cable news pundit say about drug company CEO/price gouger extraordinaire Martin Shkreli, “Someone needs to punch that dude in the throat.” I rarely advocate violence, but this small poem isn’t about me. This poem is about that angry guy.

Now and then, it occurs to him just how many
people he’s met who deserved throat punches.

Nothing too flashy, a poke and recoil, quick
as an unbidden thought, to make clear all is not as

well as it seemed a quarter-second ago, that at
least one person here knows the lay of the land.

Still, contemplating, he feels certain he would
enjoy their sharp looks of disbelief, the ones yielding

to sudden bursts of hollow pain and—a man can
dream—notions of shame for failing as humans.

He understands that those jabs in those many gullets
wouldn’t have made his life better, though he has to

admit, now that he’s looking back and being honest,
they couldn’t have made things any worse, either.

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