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Johnny Wilson Middleweight Champion of the World

I grew up with the gangster

Frank Morello, who started by making little dolls—

tiny, tan women, sanded

and polished, anatomically correct.

He was a stickler for detail, even

in homicide. We had a ball.

Frank was more peaceable than they say. He had me

sign with The Artichoke King. Later there was Tex Rickard,

that rat, who when he wasn’t raping little girls

was trying to rob fighters. People who think

 gangsters are bad have never met promoters.

Me? I had scruples. I never believed

in hitting a man in the jaw. You can

break your hand that way.


Will Stenberg is a poet, screenwriter, and bartender. He grew up in the redwood forests of the Northern California coast and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. The poems excerpted here are pulled from a full-length manuscript entitled No Comebacks, inspired by Peter Heller’s seminal work of boxing history In This Corner…! Will boxes recreationally and writes and records music under his own name.

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