Karl Carter, two poems


SEA FARER-1952

I once sailed paper boats in the flooded gutters

of the boulevards of New Orleans

Where the paved streets and shaded side walkways

ended in dirt roads and dusty pathways

A flotilla made from the archives of yesterday’s news

Folded into a maritime fleet that set sail to the minor tributaries

Of the Mississippi that flowed down Hollygrove Street

The water ankle deep at the high tide of our imagination

As we launched them from our bare foot slipways into

The surging currents of the muddy waters that flowed

Over our naked brown toes anchored in the alluvial silt

Of our childhood memories

Dreaming, as we launched our fleet

We were River Boat Pilots, Pirates, Smugglers,

Swamp rats, Maroons

The tug and pull of the undertow of the water's rip tides stung our feet

With the grit, and pebbles of the Delta’s Soil.

FALL BACK

There used to be an old basket ball hoop

In the alley behind my back yard

Where the week end games

Were played among the neighborhood boys

Who had dreams of the NBA

Like Jordon & Pippin, Alcindor and McAdoo

They practiced the moves of Frazier and Hayes

But there was one player who was always

There in the key, stealing the ball