Karate Kid | Dennis Cockerham

Karate Kid

Karate Kid

In the midst of addiction
We wear many masks

I would expand that to
Include
Personas and costumes

Addiction defined
Not just
The use of drugs

Obsessive thinking
Compulsive behavior
Manifestations
Of escapism

I started
Creating
Wearing
Perfecting
My masks
At an early age

*******

A teenager

Alone
Confused
On the streets
Fending for myself

Child abuse

Taken out of the home
Placed in the care of
The State Of Nebraska

Care
I really didn’t care for

So
I set out
Destined to live
The distortion ingrained in me

Fear

I had no idea
How to survive
To fight
What fighting was
That there was any defense
Other than
To run away

I had been beaten
It was one-sided
It seemed like all the time

I was
No good
Would amount to nothing

This was
What the world did
To the likes of me

The mid 80s
All that changed

*******

A punk
A thief
A runaway

I sneaked into a theater
Downtown
Lincoln, Nebraska

The ever-winding path
That led me
Set that day

That day
I watched
In amazement

On the big screen
A skinny little nerd

Scared
Beat up
All the time

Ran into this old
Japanese guy
That taught him karate

After

I lived at that movie
And all theaters
Showing any
Martial Art shows

I practiced every single
Wax on, wax off
Sand the floor
And
Paint the fence

I imagined

Always looking eye
And
Don’t forget to breathe
Very important

I started telling
All the street kids
That I knew karate
Proceeding
With the proof
My newly mimicked moves

Not only
Did people
Not try to hurt me

They were afraid
I might be able to hurt them

Empowered
Inspired
Highly motivated

I put forth
Any effort necessary
To continue
To build
My very first self-taught
Form of coping

In luck
It was the era

Two more Karate Kid sequels
Bloodsport
Kickboxer

Dojos
Popping up
All over town

To get started
Free lessons

I hit them all

My story grew
With each viewing
Each visit
To a new school

I tore tendons
In my legs
To do the splits
Like Van Damme

Everybody
Thought I was tough

If they called my bluff
Those stretches
Came in handy

I would run
Fast as hell

As I grew
So did the tales

No longer contained
To my fighting abilities

Reaching
Into every area
Of my life

Whomever
Whatever
I needed to be

To accomplish
Whichever thing
I deemed important
At each time

That is
What I was

One identity
To the next

So many stories
One would think
I would lose track
Forget
What I had already said

Not I

Effortlessly
It came to me

Having learned the secret

Knowing
Enough

Telling enough truth

Giving each
A foundation

Able to bend
To flow
One to another

Of course
It was not long

The world
Had seen Karate Kid

My gig
Seemed to be up

But
Something
Had happened to me

True or not
A valuable lesson
Discovered

A new way
For me
To deal
With fear

All l had to do
Was

Lie!

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