Monday, November 7, 2011

smoke before the thunder. (for joe frazier.)

they tried to make you many things, Joe
everything you could think of Joe
but like all champions
you dictated your terms
with fists that burned
they tried to make you out to be dumb
to make you just a foil
but anyone born under palmettos and hard gazes
crumbles doubt
with fists that brought thunder
you shocked the world
along with Ali
forty one rounds
that stitched themselves with a corner man's hands into history
and made death a reluctant spectator
when the heat of battle in a ring in Manila
saw you willing to still fight blind
they called you Uncle Tom
not knowing you made monkeys out of all who scorned you
there is no more bitterness
no more razor blades to swallow to hide pain
the city of brotherly love
named you theirs
and the world
names you a champion eternal, Joe
as a man who's smoke
brought a thunder that shook gods
and humbled the loudest of men.

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