Monday, 21 July 2008

Poefusion--Friday 5

The five words for the week were:

clobber
encourage
scrawl
wail
hay

I've been thinking a lot of Saratoga racetrack lately. It opens this week. From the time I was 12 until just 5 years ago I always went with my dad, until his death. The last 7 years I got to work on it as a photographer. Memories of it are all bittersweet now, I long to go but my dad won't be there anymore.

One story I got to do was about the old timers on the track, mostly African American grooms and exersize riders. This peom is rough (very rough) but it's a tribute to them and the stories they told about growing up in the south.



All my life
I've been a fighter. Had
to be, a black man
in the south can't survive
otherwise. Can't show
it outside, But in me
is a cry, a wail
of pain.
An anger so deep
it'd feel good
to clobber that smug look
from those white folks'
faces. An act
of suicide, that.
Took a job as a groom, my
way out of the south,
the smell of horse
and hay, the rhythm
of hooves on track my
savoir, encouragement that life
wears a smart hat
and scraws art on walls;
it isn't hunched shoulders
or Nazi salutes or
a Southern bell's simpering smile.
A snort from my charge,
a nuzzle on cheek, I watch
her work 22 and change,
and dream our
future.

1 comment:

Michelle Johnson said...

I'm sorry about your dad. I am sure you both had such a great time at the track. Being able to photograph it years later with these tales woven into its tapestry should make you proud. I know they would make your father proud.