Sunday, March 26, 2006

Monday March 27, 2006 - 12:38AM

Like i need to be awake at all...

these past two weeks were crazy. on the week before the 18th, i had laryngitis, but had to rehearse all the way through that to get ready for the VisionIntoArt "Sounds" show on the 18th. Got that done and then headed out to Oakland on Tuesday evening (leaving straight from school) to go do the last leg of the teachers' diversity training i did in february. after doing like a student and teacher survey on wednesday, me and maureen benson, the prinicipal of Youth Empowerment School and ultimate fly-ass human being spent much of wednesday evening and thursday figuring out the agenda for the actual day of professional development on friday, and after eschewing sleep for most of thursday night and friday night, i got on a plane at 7AM to get back here, go straight from the airport to the chelsea art museum and do the sounds show all over again. i slept for 9 hours straight last night - didn't even get up to pee.

but since then, i've had a new poem. i'm kinda diggin' it because it's the first halfway successful poem about my 20s that i've been able to write so far and it fits into both my super-hero and sports poem collections. so here goes...

how black folk changed the world again (or) saga of Michael Jordan – superhero

his every glide a stork’s
he was Magic a defiant black man
before we knew he didn’t
stand for nothing but rings
and sneakers

we knew him children of the trickle down
80s when he was still bling
dropping 63 on the Celtics so amazing
Bird said he was God in short pants
shit! he made long shorts and bald heads
coming to the All-Star game
in rope chains and sweatsuits
older cats (Karl Malone) swingin’ on Mr. Charlie’s nuts
just hating on the newest player
and his newest game
had old white set-shot shooters
arguing about the death of fundamentals and passing
before he knew he was a brand name

we knew Mike
had ascended to Godhead
when we rose from our living room couches
for the inevitable dunk
and he switched hands mid-air
scooped a finger-roll so tender
off his elongated fingers
we heard it kiss
the backboard before it dropped
through the nets dropped 36
on a pre-HIV Magic
and L.A. showtime that night
and his Bulls won
the next four games
and their first title

What you know ‘bout 1990
standing on the cusp of N.W.A.
and gangsta rap
before he leased his soul out to Nike
before the L.A. riots and Ice Cube’s Predator
before “can we all just get along?”
before Mike said “Republicans buy sneakers too”
before he developed a fadeaway so sick
he seemed to be in the fourth row floating
before he released

and so he became “if I could be like Mike”
and even those of us
with no game
getting all conscious in college
when we knew he wasn’t shit
when he was screaming on Scottie
for having a headache in the playoffs
even those of us
mimicked his moves on the courts
in high-school gyms
in the East New York courts on Cozine
in Marcy playground

Mary J. Blige and Grand Puba’s 411
making background tracks
while we get our swerve on
at Bentley’s and The Underground
Mike was already getting love
in China
me and Luis them days
best friends forever if we didn’t die first
swinging fists and bats outside the Copa’
in rayon shirts and hammer-pants made in South Korea

style – Mike fakes and John Starks
flies into the stands
Mike uses Craig Ehlo
for a game-winning final shot
drops 40 on Joe Dumars
while holding him to 4
55 on the Knicks in his comeback
who gives a fuck that you’re a .200 singles
hitter in Double-A ball
when you’re scoring at a faster clip than Wilt
when you drop 36 in a half
against Seattle – shrug your shoulders
like you don’t even know
what’s going on

style – Mike gave us that
changed the game
made brothers attack the basket
- and some white boys too –
we all practiced kicking our legs out
like we were treading water
in pursuit of more hangtime
so long in the air
had time to tuck his feet in
like a landing motherfuckin’ gear

C’mon – look how far we’ve come
who cares about sweatshops
$150 sneakers in the hood
with dried blood on the laces
Mommy turning tricks for the newest
Air Jordans

Mike is on TV
breakin’ niggahs down and sipping Gatorade
Spike Lee is shufflin’ as Mars Blackon
Rodman’s wearing a wedding dress
and black folk
are changing the world again

So of course, i'm willing to have any discourse on the poem that people feel like having; about super-heroes, sweatshops, michael jordan, basketball or poems themselves. i've read hella-stuff (can you tell i've been on the west coast?) that i should be turning y'all onto at this point, and been in hella places this past week that i can't tell you except in person, because well... i'll have to implicate folks to tell you on such a public forum.

back to the chirren tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Thursday March 9th, 2006 - 1:12AM

hmmmmm, well what to say. i'm wide awake even after two tylenol PM. on the upside i've just typed up a coupla poems. i have stuff to learn for VIA so i should probably work on those too (we have shows coming up on the 18th and 25th).

can't report to the general public anything of use that happened in my life over the last two weeks, except, if you go to my website, there are a few new pictures of me and if you go to you'll find a whole brand new photo shoot of me with stuff i'll pick from for the book back cover; but i suspect i might have mentioned that already. i haven't posted a poem in a minute so here goes... feel free to comment

1975 – after the broadcast

and before the old black and white TV
is done clicking
like the old engine
of my mother’s yellow Morris Marina

I am already outside
mimicking the stroke play
of Viv Richards or Gordon Greenidge
or even more satisfying some days
Clive “The big Cat” Lloyd because he bat lefty
like me

and the hill of un-used gravel
on my left was always
a badly placed silly mid-off
the smoldering dung heap
first and second slip the razor grass
was a deep square leg
and the sorrel bush – extra cover
and Dennis Lilly (it was always Lilly and Thompson
in thise days) was coming off his long run-up
a menacingly tall mustachioed ghost
bringing the wrath of Down Under
with him – his white man’s arrogance
the thiefing umpires
the snarling fans – everything

and the sun would be hot
and the shaved down piece of wood
from Dolloway’s lumber yard
would be my Slazenger bat
and the crowd would murmur
because the young lad Bonair
would step out of the crease
make the bowler halt his delivery
absent-mindedly pat an errant blade
of grass back into the turf
before resuming his stance
bat tapping too too patiently
like Kalicharran or Gomes
hint of a smile on his face
chewing his gum slowly – like Viv
a high backlift the way Geoff Boycott’s
book said and the delivery
would be short a hostile ball
coming up toward the shoulder
so I had to turn on it sharply
left wrist rolling over right fist
so deftly the bat looked like a blade
flashing in the sugar cane sun
and razor grass couldn’t move
to the left and hibiscus bush
just stood still and because
I was a cavalier stroke player
like Jeffrey Dujon or Lawrence Rowe
I didn’t run – I didn’t even
look at the flight of the ball
because I knew I didn’t have to
and it was all the way down
to Ms. Thornhill’s fence for four

In those days whole matches
were played by my hands alone
commentating in the English brogue
of Henry Blofeld and the insightful
Bajan twang of Tony Cozier

I memorized all the stats
kept the scored of a nightwatchman
batsman from day to the next
strategized on field placement
and spin bowler and made sure
the West Indies always won
dramatically on the fifth day
late in the evening
at the Queen’s Park Savannah
with rum flowing in the stands
a rhythm section gathering steam
and a conch shell fading

It might be a six into Ms. Ivy’s yard
or a dramatic catch by the paw paw tree
or the Bonair lad tearing up the pitch
for a suicide single
on the last ball
of the last over of the day
skating on the gravel
the little white stones tumbling
several over the other
the whole cascade sounding
amazingly like applause