Wednesday, October 1, 2014
The Big Smoke: “Mouth Fighting”
[The Big Smoke reading group]
Like many of the poems in Adrian Matejka's The Big Smoke, Jack Johnson delivers a personal description of his fighting style. In “Mouth Fighting,” however, this description of his unique style is not of a physical quality (as the title may or may not suggest). Mouth fighting, in this case, refers to trash talk (a trait that is evident in many great black athletes of the past and present).
Jack Johnson’s trash talking is “civilized” with rules. “A civilized/mouth fight is about making a fighter wild/& as soon as I can tell he's listening,/I know I've won.” The irony is layered as there may be some white fighters or fans who may consider trash taking to be uncivilized.
What did you think on most regarding "Mouth Fighting," and why? That is, what captured your attention most concerning the poem's main themes or the use of language in the poem, and why did that capture your attention?