Tino Villanueva

(1941 / San Marcos, Texas)

Fight Scene Beginning - Poem by Tino Villanueva

Bick Benedict, that is, Rock Hudson in the
Time-clock of the movie, stands up and moves,
Deliberate, toward encounter. He has come out
Of the anxious blur of the backdrop, like

Coming out of the unreal into the world of
What's true, down to earth and distinct; has
Stepped up to Sarge, the younger of the two,

And would sure appreciate it if he: 'Were a
Little more polite to these people.' Sarge,
Who has something to defend, balks; asks
(In a long-shot) if: 'that there papoose down

There, his name Benedict too?,' by which he
Means one-year old Jordy in the background
Booth hidden in the bosom of mother love of

Juana, who listens, trying not to listen. Rock
Hudson, his hair already the color of slate,
Who could not foresee this challenge, arms
Akimbo (turning around), contemplates the stable

And straight line of years gone by, says: 'Yeah,
Come to think of it, it is.' And so acknowledges,
In his heart, his grandson, half-Anglo, half-

Brown. Sarge repents from words, but no
Part of his real self succumbs: 'All right—
Forget I asked you. Now you just go back
Over there and sit down and we ain't gonna

Have no trouble. But this bunch here is
Gonna eat somewhere's else.' Never shall I
Forget, never how quickly his hand threw my

Breathing off—how quickly he plopped the
Hat heavily askew once more on the old
Man's head, seized two fistsful of shirt and
Coat and lifted his slight body like nothing,

A no-thing, who could have been any of us,
Weightless nobodies bronzed by real-time far
Off somewhere, not here, but in another

Country, yet here, where Rock Hudson's face
Deepens; where in one motion, swift as a
Miracle, he catches Sarge off guard, grabs
His arm somehow, tumbles him back against

The counter and draws fire from Sarge to
Begin the fight up and down the wide screen
Of memory, ablaze in Warner-color light.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 21, 2016



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