Fighting the Good Fight

By Neel Dutta Gupta

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My days before the fight

were marked with press conferences

composed of long microphones

extravagant promotion boards 

and “drippy” outfits

My conversations had much to do with

prediction based on precedent

with glimpses of technical conversation

It was trash talk for the most part, 

meaningless conversations 

referencing each other’s mother

explaining perceived “weaknesses” in the other fighter

But these were their own fight

They provided me an opportunity 

to win this fight before it was fought

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On the day of the fight, I walk in, beads of sweat circulating 

A rush of nerves and discomfort comes upon me

juxtaposed by my beating heart

As much as my preparation 

and my confidence attempt to

secure my mind

there is a sense of rawness

and vulnerability

creating a prehistoric stress

that I cannot scare away

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From the corner of my eye, 

I see a gathering of important individuals

The forefront of a hierarchical gradient 

encompassing the coliseum 

My walk to the ring

is filled with chaotic screams

flashes of camera phones and floodlights

Eyes illuminating with focus and urge

A modern continuation 

of a traditional practice

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In this moment, 

I feel an anarchical peace

A quiet sense of confidence

An attentiveness to the duel at hand

An inevitable sense of focus

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As I walk into the ring, 

I pace

nomadically 

frantically but with tranquility

anxiously with a hint of calm

It is a strange combination for me

tense but peaceful

My opponent resides across from me

a glimmer of moroseness in his eyes

Was this what it had come to?

Voluntary abuse of each other 

for the world’s entertainment? 

It had not come to this today

It had been like this for generations

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The fight begins

Right jab, left jab

I move my head elusively, 

but my opponent’s actions is magnetic

His feet move with such precision, 

shuffling across the ring 

making it difficult 

to create contact

His movements are

enigmatic

elusive

violently beautiful

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The fight is called 

And our arms our raised 

I look towards 

my opponent

I see him as something else

Not conflict, but peace

For all the trash talk

And our physical combat

I feel something satiating,

satisfying, 

unexpected:

respect.

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Neel Dutta Gupta

Neel Dutta Gupta is a 17-year-old high school senior from Singapore. He enjoys writing poetry but is also interested in creative nonfiction and academic writing. He likes eating pasta, playing basketball and volleyball, re-watching Suits, and walking his dog. He is a recent contributor to Written by the Youth. 

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