I'm out in sunny Oxnard, California this week with my boxing team as they fight in the PAL National Championships. I've started a new blog for our gym, where I will be featuring different young fighters every month and, hopefully, getting the kids to write things in their own words about fighting and life.
the air burned like an end of days but
it was only the luxury
of deep, deep love
spiraling in me and
colliding into you and
tonight I pledge that
we are not transient
but latched to eternity
by starry keys.
Charles Bane, Jr. is a widely published poet on the web, print and in anthologies. His collection, The Chapbook: Poems By Charles Bane, Jr (Curbside Splendor, Chicago), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. An amateur fighter, Bane likes to work on the outside; while writing poems, he works inside.
I'll be at the Village Vanguard every night through Sunday, soaking up the sounds of Tootie Heath with my husband Ethan on piano and Ben Street on drums. Their new album is my favorite in a long, long time. Nate Chinen got it right.
PHOTO: John Rogers
My husband's blog has an incredible interview with the Vanguard's manager Jed, the power behind the throne. Some legendary backstage stories in there.
Manwhile, I've been hard at work on profiles of two badass Japanese ladies.
Misato Kamegawa, three-time NYC Golden Gloves champ, took time to chat with me for Stiff Jab.
And Kelly Shibari is a BBW pornstar I'm profiling for Penthouse Forum. The research for this one has been fun...
Every moment is magic with Raquel Ruiz, independent journalist. Immediately after touching down from Sacramento, Raquel convinced me to drive a 16-hour roundtrip to see Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields fight in Ottowa.
The Symposium was everything women's boxing is: scrappy, underattended, sometimes heartwarming, often boring. The best part was running along Lake Ontario with Raquel. The second best part was Corey Erdman's presentation on the economics of women's pro boxing, which showed that well-matched women's fights can draw big gate and PPV numbers in markets like Mexico, Germany, and the Phillipines and asked why, if MMA promoters are recognizing the potential of women stars, HBO and Golden Boy are holding out.
We watched a documentary about young women boxers in Kabul. The fact that these girls were awful boxers made it hard to know what to feel.
We learned about the Indian women's boxing team, who are supported year-round, and a Canadian nonprofit called Shape Your Life, which teaches boxing to domestic abuse survivors. The issue of abuse is never far from any conversation about women's boxing. I slept through Hella Tsaconas's talk but enjoyed reading it on her iPad and learning about worlding and cruel optimism.
On the last night, our lovely hostess Cathy van Ingen curated a vegan-friendly cocktail hour, and Corey Erdman hosted us at the Fight Network offices so we could watch Paulie Malignaggi make Adrian Broner look unexplosive.
As always, it was hard to leave the gentle land of Canada.
The mildly aggrieved tone of the Symposium reminded me of why I don't go to grad school. It was the opposite of being ringside for Claressa Shields.
Nobody ever promised us we'd get paid to play. Boxing is a gift economy, and I've never been shortchanged.