The challenge with poetry for me is how to make it mean something in the world I live. This poem is by a friend of mine. His new book Up Jump the Boogie is ill—and it's about a world, not about words. I was going to post his crown of sonnets about hip hop—but you have to have some stamina to read a 98 line poem. So we'll check out "Enter The Dragon" and call it an early ode to fathers and Father's Day.
ENTER THE DRAGONby John MurilloLos Angeles, California, 1976For me, the movie starts with a black manLeaping into an orbit of badges, tiny moonsCatching the sheen of his perfect black afro.Arc kicks, karate chops, and thirty copsOn their backs. It starts with the swagger,The cool lean into the leather front seatOf the black and white he takes off in.Deep hallelujahs of moviegoers drownOut the wah wah guitar. Salt & butterHigh-fives, Right on, brother! and DaddyGlowing so bright he can light the screenAll by himself. This is how it goes down.Friday night and my father drives usHome from the late show, two heroesCadillacking across King Boulevard.In the cars dark cab, we jab and clutch,Jim Kelly and Bruce Lee with popcornBreath, and almost miss the lights flashingIn the cracked side mirror. I know whatsUnder the seat, but when the uniformsApproach from the rear quarter panel,When the fat one leans so far into my father'sWindow I can smell his long day's work,When my father this John Henry of a man,Hides his hammer, doesn't buck, tucks awayHis baritone, license and registration shaking as ifShowing a bathroom pass to a grade schoolPrincipal, I learn the difference between cinemaAnd city, between the moviehouse cheersOf old men and the silence that gets us home.