Poem for My Father



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
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, origin
thick branches branching down, into cherokee & someplace else lost
way back in africa, the sap running dry
crossing from north carolina into georgia, inside grandmother mary’s
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
some virulent, american, redneck’s face
scorching, like atomic heat, mushrooming over nagasaki
& hiroshima, the fever blistered shadows of it all
inked, as etchings, into sizzled concrete
but you, there, father, through it all, a yardbird solo
riffing 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 up in a slider, curve
breaking down & away in a wicked, sly grin
curved & posed as an ass-scratching uncle tom, who
like old sachel paige delivering his famed hesitation pitch
before coming back with a hard, high, fast one, is slicker
sliding, & quicker than a professional hitman—
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 mitt
hard & fast as “cool papa” bell jumping into bed
before the lights went out
 
of the old, negro baseball league, a promise, you were
father, a harbinger, of shock waves, soon come

About this poem

for Quincy T. Trouppe Sr.

Font size:
Collection  PDF     
 

Written on 1996

Submitted by Drone232 on July 02, 2022

Modified on April 09, 2023

2:22 min read
20

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABXAXXXCXXXX DXXCBXXEXXCFGXHXXEXIXHFXXCXGXXIXCDXJJ XXXA CX
Closest metre Iambic hexameter
Characters 2,790
Words 473
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 12, 37, 4, 2

QUINCY TROUPE

Quincy Troupe was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of a professional baseball player. After studying for two semesters at Grambling College on a scholarship, he left to join the army. When his service ended, he moved to Los Angeles, California and began teaching writing workshops at the Watts Writers Workshop. He later held positions at the University of California, San Diego; Ohio University; the College of Staten Island; and California State University. He also taught in the Columbia University Graduate Writing Program, as well as at various institutions abroad. His many poetry collections include Seduction: New Poems, 2013-2018; Ghost Voices: A Poem in Prayer (2018); Errançities (2011); The Architecture of Language (2007), which won the Paterson Award for Sustained Achievement; Choruses (1999); and the American Book Award-winning Snake-back Solos: Selected Poems, 1969–1977 (1979). A noted performer of his work, Troupe has twice won the prestigious Heavyweight Champion of Poetry, a distinction given by the World Poetry Bout of Taos. He has also founded and edited magazines such as Confrontation: A Journal of Third World Literature, American Rag, and Code, where he was editorial director. more…

All QUINCY TROUPE poems | QUINCY TROUPE Books

1 fan

Discuss the poem Poem for My Father with the community...

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "Poem for My Father" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 Jun 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/130990/poem-for-my-father>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    June 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.
    8
    days
    22
    hours
    9
    minutes

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!

    Browse Poetry.com

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    Which female American poet, who was little-known during her lifetime, but had nearly 1800 of her poems published posthumously, rarely titled her poems?
    A Amy Lowell
    B Sylvia Plath
    C Emily Dickinson
    D Sara Teasdale