• Karl Carter

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

With moves as fluid as water

Whose voice rang out through the air

The ball clutched in one hand

Fall back, baby, fall back

As the boys stopped in mid step

And watched her dunk another

Basket.

Karl W. Carter, Jr. resides in Alexandria, Va. . He is the author of two books of poems, Sojourner and Other Poems (Create Space, 2010), Southern Road and Other Selected Poems, (Create Space, 2014) and the poetry broadsides; A Season in Sorrow (Broadside Press, 1972) and Three Poems (Broadside Press, 1972). His poetry appears in numerous journals, including The Broadkill Review, The Delaware Poetry Review, and This Thing Called Life, and the anthologies,

Stephen Henderson's Understanding the New Black Poetry, and Jeffery Coleman's Voices of Protest, Voices of Freedom: Poetry of the American Civil Rights Movement.


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