Stanley "The Michigan Assassin" Ketchel vs. Billy Papke
Stanley The Michigan Assassin Ketchel
Ketchel, dapper in a three-piece Irish wool suit,
shadow boxes on the far side of a card table.
A 25-flickering-candles double-decker
white cake glows from atop the table.
It's my birthday! It's September 14,
or it's whatever date you want it to be.
But I am forever turning twenty-five.
Thud-thud-thud of a worked-hard heavy bag...
whack-whack-whack of a speed bag....
Back turned to a health ranch door,
fried eggs-'n-bacon on a big plate,
rye 'n opium far, far away... and a jealous
ranch hand, Walter Dipley, shoots me over
a dishwater blonde Goldy I didn't sexy-notice.
Greatest Middleweight of All Time,
so great that Hemingway wrote about me...
me... I even knocked down Jack Johnson
in a Heavyweight bout for fun 'n profit.
No way was Jack, dear pal of mine, gonna
let me win, but we had rematches planned.
Lesson: don't count on nothin', even on a birthday.