For this issue, the Ol' Spit Bucket has decided to step aside in
favor of a guest editorial by the redoubtable Mr. Lucius Shepard. But before I
turn the editorial over to Lucius, I have three things I'd like to mention:
My good buddy & associate editor, Tom Gerbasi, has a terrific new book out
called, Ring Ramblings, that is a must read for any ardent fan of the sweet
science. It is avalable online at www.iuniverse.com,
or www.borders.com .
Lastly we have two interviews in this issue that are truly outstanding.
One is JD Vena's insightful piece on Brian Kenney, who is Max Kellerman's
broadcast partner on ESPN2's boxing series.
Leading off the issue is Eric Jorgensen's interview with Tom
Smario, a well known cut man in the Northwest ... But, Tom is a lot more than
just a cut man, he's truly a boxing renaissance man. Not only is he one of the
best cutmen working today, he's also an ER Orthopedic technician as well as a
published author & poet.
The best way to explain who Tom Smario is, is by republishing the
introduction to his book that the CBZ's Katherine Dunn wrote:
"The Notes of A Cornerman"- Tom Smario
" In the boxing gyms and arenas where Tom Smario
hangs out, almost no one knows he's an accomplished poet. And that's
fair. Few of Smario's literary cronies know he's a dedicated boxing cornerman,
specializing in stopping the bleeding from any cut a boxer may suffer in the
course of a bout.
But writers or fighters, those who know Smario,
call on him in a pinch. One aging duffer who exercises at a local boxing
gym claims to be more comfortable banging the heavy bag when Tom is around.
"If I keel over with a heart attack," says the geezer, "I know
Smario will give me CPR."
And Smario would, of course. He'd do it right,
however long it took the ambulance to arrive. One of Smario's many lives is
his day job, which is medical--he's a casting technician at a busy hospital.
When you break, he's the guy who puts your fractured body part safe in a cast
In "The Notes of a
Cornerman" these three intense worlds flow together to produce poems of
passion tangled in ring ropes.
Boxing has always been a
lure for writers. The deliberate, ritualized crisis strips pretense and veneer
down to core character--the human heart made visible. Homer's detailed
description of a heavyweight match at the funeral games in The Iliad is the
acknowledged starting line of an enormous literature dedicated to the game of
Smario brings a fresh intimacy to
this honorable tradition. His view is from the inside, close enough to hear
the urgent muttering between rounds, to feel the heat of blood pulsing from a
cut, and to be swept by the fear and hope before fights, the jubilation or
disappointment afterward. These poems are direct expressions of the poet's
experience and, on the whole, they're exultant winners.
There are punchy love songs to
distant stars, from Willie Pep to Muhammad Ali. There are jabs at the critics
of this much maligned sport, and jokes at the poet's expense. But the strong
central topics are the sagas of little known fighters, their dreams, and the
risks they take on the spotlit stage of the sport.
The language is six-pack
functional, blue collar real, working for the simple, honest story. These are
romantic poems in the truest sense -- gladly finding beauty in sweaty,
Well put. In the Bucket's view, guys like Tom Smario
are the heart & soul of our brutal sport. If I had a kid that was
fighting today I would want Tom Smario in his corner.
S' anyways, I'll now turn the editorial over to Mr. Shepard.
Enjoy the new issue!
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