El Milagro

During the depression my grandfather
wrestled when weather didn’t cooperate
to make a good harvest, he was a big strong
man, and feared nothing but his family
going hungry or without necessities

The WPA came along and put farmers
to work building roads and bridges, my
grandfather moved to New Mexico and
started a bricklaying company

On Fridays we’d go pay the laborers
and go to the wrestling matches at a
huge Quonset hut with bleachers up to
the rounded ceiling, it was crowded

It smelled of sweat and excitement,
drunks staggered around selling green
tomatoes to throw at the wrestlers you
didn’t like, it was a wild adventure I
shared with my grandfather.

Most of the good men were from Texas
and Mexico, the great Lou Thesz with ears
the size of tortillas because of all the head
locks he’d been in, the three Funks

From Borger, Texas noted for their spinning
toe hold submission move, my favorite was
Ricky Romero, he would dance into the ring
and throw tiny sombreros to the crowd

He’d put a choke sleeper hold on his opponent
and they would be out and flopping around like
a fish, then he’d cover them with a Mexican
blanket and bring them back to life.

Catfish McDaris’s most infamous chapbook is Prying with Jack Micheline and Charles Bukowski. He’s from Albuquerque and Milwaukee.