Image of a clock face with roman numerals against black background.

POETRY: One More Round

by Alvin L. A. Horn


We always think we can
Just like an old boxer who can’t quit, won’t retire
We always think we have another season
Just a few more turns
Another fight
One more round

The lines in our face we excuse as wisdom
When it’s … our age
The toys and garments of vanity lie to us
When everybody else knows better, and we do also
Just one more round before I’m down
A cliché we say, with different words and expressions

You can hang with the young boys
Girl, tell me your secret
The lies we love to hear, but our bodies do not revere
Get up before the count; the fight is not over
You can still win
You’re smarter now
The tricks help you last longer
But don’t keep you out of harm’s way
The pain will go away only when you stop
Maybe

We always think we can
Just like an old boxer who can’t quit, won’t retire
We always think we have another season
Just a few more turns
Another fight 
One more round

I still got some left in the tank
It’s near empty
I feel good as new
I’m back
For a fleeting moment

After the doctor fixes and the right pill, or maybe a warm day energizes our soul
A left jab lands beautifully
Only it wasn’t yours
It’s the one you couldn’t get out of the way of
Your right misses the lesser-experienced foe
The foe was a new day against your older mind, body, and soul
Then the dirtiest of tricks happens.
A direct hit in the gut, the back, legs, head, and foot
You’re going down

The shame is sometimes we didn’t feel the pain right away
All of a sudden, we are left wondering what happened
More pain, wrinkles, weight, and loss of mobility
A barrage of inner insults says, “You’re done; you don’t have it anymore.”

Somehow you summon all your inner strength from a biased image of a glorious past
Your mind turns back the clock
The narrowest vision of vanity and
self-respecting pride saves you
I’ll be back
I’ll be back
You end up on your back

What a Fool believes
I need to work harder at being my old self
We always think we can
Just like an old boxer who can’t quit, won’t retire
We always think we have another season
Just a few more turns
Another fight 
One more round

Then one day, you see yourself in someone as you were
We see ourselves in many ways through the lives of those we admire
In the last days and times, we see our mentors and heroes, people we admire, and see them
near the end, and then, thee end. 
We live on with the memories.

We always think we can
Just like an old boxer who can’t quit, won’t retire
We always think we have another season
Just a few more turns
Another fight 
One more round


Headshot of Alvin L. A. Horn

Alvin L. A. Horn is a national award-winning author of eight novels. He was born in the Northwest and credits his writing to his mother, who made him go to the library, and the “little gray-haired Jewish lady, the librarian,” a concentration camp survivor, for introducing him to writers such as Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston. Upon reading Nikki Giovanni’s work, Alvin knew he wanted to be a writer of love stories, social commentary, and poetry. Alvin is a retired teacher but continues to work with at-risk kids.

📸 Featured image attributed to Marco Pro Campos (under a Creative Commons, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license).

Before you move on to the next story …
Please consider that the article you just read was made possible by the generous financial support of donors and sponsors. The Emerald is a BIPOC-led nonprofit news outlet with the mission of offering a wider lens of our region’s most diverse, least affluent, and woefully under-reported communities. Please consider making a one-time gift or, better yet, joining our Rainmaker Family by becoming a monthly donor. Your support will help provide fair pay for our journalists and enable them to continue writing the important stories that offer relevant news, information, and analysis. 
Support the Emerald!