AfroPoets Famous Writers

Poem For My Father

for Quincy Trouppe, Sr.

father, it was an honor to be there, in the dugout
with you, the glory of great black men swinging their lives
as bats, at tiny white balls
burning in at unbelievable speeds, riding up & in & out
a curve breaking down wicked, like a ball falling off a table
moving away, snaking down, screwing its stitched magic
into chitlin circuit air, its comma seams spinning
again toward breakdown, dipping, like a hipster
bebopping a knee-dip stride in the charlie parker forties
wrist curling like a swan's neck
behind a "slick" black back
cupping an invisible ball of dreams

& you there father, regal as an african obeah man
sculpted out of wood from a sacred tree of no name no place
thick branches branching down into cherokee & someplace else
way back in africa, the sap running dry
crossing from north carolina into georgia, inside grandmother
womb, where your mother had you in the violence of that red soil
ink blotter news gone now into blood graves
of american blues sponging rococo
truth long gone as dinosaurs
the agent-oranged landscape of former names
absent of african polysyllables, dry husk consonants there
now in their place, names flat as polluted rivers
& that guitar string smile always snaking across
virulent american redneck faces
scorching, like atomic heat mushrooming over nagasaki
& hiroshima, the fever blistered shadows of it all
inked as etchings into sizzling concrete

but you there father through it all, a yardbird solo
riffin on bat & ball glory, breaking down the fabricated myths
of white major league legends, of who was better than who
beating them at their own crap
game with killer bats, as bud powell swung his silence into beauty
of a josh gibson home run skittering across piano keys of bleachers
shattering all manufactured legends up there in lights
struck out white knights on the risky edge of amazement
awe, the miraculous truth sluicing through
steeped & disguised in the blues
confluencing, like the point at the cross
when a fastball hides itself in a curve breaking
down & away in a wicked sly grin posed as an ass
scratching uncle tom, who like satchel paige
delivering his famed hesitation pitch before coming
back with a hard high fast one, is slicker, sliding
quicker than a professional hit man-
the deadliness of it all, the sudden strike
like that of the "brown bomber's" crossing right
of sugar ray robinson's lightning, cobra bite

& you there father through it all catching rhythms
of chono pozo balls drumming like conga beats into your catcher's
hard & fast as "cool papa" bell jumping into bed
before the lights went out

of the old negro baseball league, a promise
a harbinger, of shock waves, soon come

Written by Quincy Troupe


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