Back of My Head



On my left, in the grey corner

I got a local lad, local born and bred, no nickname required (cos everybody knows him)

and in the black brown and tanned corner…


There is a reason I sound like a boxing announcer: I attack life. pre emotive strikes, show no cracks, no weakness.

I don’t fear the knockouts.

I fear the concussion, the dizziness, the lack of focus caused by sly media rabbit punches to the back of my head. A roundhouse kick when I thought we were playing chess.

You laugh, I sigh.

You gasp at the realisation at what this is.

You can exhale if you want to.

Many do not get that luxury.

So I lean on the ropes, tuck in to take some blows, ready for those who’ve got plenty of spare twine for a lynching or making shoelaces.

Love me like Cassius? or only when he was Muhammed Ali? Mumbling, bedridden and lost his potency.

I am TOO LOUD you say? Somewhere between a Rock star and Butlins Bluecoat.  We are cracking skulls tonight? No. Cracking jokes.

But on stage under the lights I am always thinking how many I’ve known, lost to police choke holds.

Hold onto that thought whilst I hit you back.

I don’t have time to enunciate, try and placate, find some middle ground when I taste the canvas.

Let’s get ready to rumble?

You’ve already given me the nickname ‘trouble’ – so whatever happens next, I am going to have to take you with me.


with no holds barred

Til you are asphyxiated

So that you learn

We all breathe the same air.

breathe the same air.

breathe the same air.


The Bell rings: Round one.

Can you count to ten?

Think about it as I hit you with capoera, jujitsu, shotokan, Dick Gregory and Chuck D

I cannot lose.

I have trained for this fight, whether I wanted to or not.


Dominic JP Nelson-Ashley

from the poetry collection ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

(photo by Kev Howard)