Lagniappe II: Knockout Artist (transference)

Michelle Mantsio

'...Spontaneous and synchronized, a chant came up as a single voice: Knockout, Knockout, Knockout, Knockout.

He showed more swift lateral movement and then went into a corner again. This time when he spun out, he went flat-footed in the center of the ring and at the same time let his jaw go slack. He caught himself on the point of the chin with a vicious right hook. The lights dimmed, his knees buckled, and the chant Knockout, Knockout moved far away as though he were hearing it through a wall from another room. Even as he was going down and the lights were no longer there, a voice, his own and hollow as an echo, spoke out of the darkness: "Well, it's over one more time."

... "You knocked yourself cold as an Eskimo's balls, you." ....

(The Knockout Artist,_ Crews, H. 1988, p.12)

Osmond (boxer) and I (Michelle/artist) train in a church hall in Archway two mornings a week. Osmond shows me punches, weaves, combinations, and eventually we try sparring.

Sparring: my shoulders hunch, my reach shortens, my impact diminishes, my feet become flat-footed, and my gestures become apologetic. To try to knockout someone becomes a defining moment.

Transference: we stop sparring. Osmond explains how if I don't hit him that nothing is going to happen. That it is playing. That there is no pain.

To try to knockout someone becomes a defining moment. I admire Osmond. To watch him move embodies beauty. We are boxing. If I don't hit him properly because of violence, then what am I doing? The transference of lagniappe (meaning 'a little something extra', (like the 13 in the baker's dozen) and it is pronounced 'lan-yap'. Crews, H.) from Osmond is in generosity. In a single voice, he provides space, another room to play in, with no pain? ... one more time.