After Marvin Bell The Deadman speaks in sentences but rarely paragraphs. He wears boots with silver buckles and walks without a sound. His hat and coat exaggerate his height. Unlike other wrestlers, the Deadman doesn’t need applause to prove that he exists. He mostly moves above the waist, his gestures plain from the back row. The Deadman’s x-rays always blur. Likewise MRIs, though he holds perfectly still. He controls light and fire with his mind. His burns are first degree. The Deadman works 19 days a year, but only 6 of those are matches. Even if he wrestles first, he’s still the main event. No matter where he dresses, the Deadman runs the locker room. He shakes hands because he must. His palms are neither moist nor dry, hot nor cold. His grip has nothing left to prove. The Deadman disappears at will, but he always returns. He did not invent his famous matches— Hell in a Cell, Buried Alive— but he perfected them. The Deadman can be surprised, but never by himself.
Copyright © 2015 Carrie Shipers. Originally published in Conduit, Spring 2015. Used with permission of the author.
Carrie Shipers is the author of Family Resemblances (University of New Mexico Press, 2016). She teaches at Rhode Island College in Providence.
Date Published: 2017-09-11
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/deadman