Friday, September 9, 2011

The Madison Street Tigers: George Taliaferro

And glass, and rags, and paper boxes
Traded sacrificially for pigskin
And one boy would keep it
He kicked it when everything was against him.
He kicked it high.
And the street bought a football with dreams it couldn't afford.
And a boy promised his mother in a time when he couldn't.
But he did it with glass, and rags, and paper boxes.

And cheers, and lights, and adoring fans
Traded for the quiet celebration away from the noise
And one boy would walk alone
He played and everyone screamed with triumph.
He played it and won.
And the game bought a future with the glory he couldn't touch.
And a boy full of spirits with his father's words
Without cheers, and lights, and adoring fans.

Yesterday, I became aware of how "American" I really am. I had always suspected as much, but I officially knew when I began pouting after realizing that President Obama's "Jobs" speech was going to cut into the beginning of the first game of the NFL season. I'm semi-ashamed to admit that, but not quite ashamed enough to actually not admit it. Anyway, congratulations to Green Bay (I knew you guys were going to make it!), and in the spirit of the season I wrote the poem featured above. I wrote it while reading The Gridiron Gauntlet: The Story of the Men Who Integrated Pro-Football in Their Own Words and read about George Taliaferro (who is officially the first African-American drafted by the NFL). Anyway, there is a beautiful story of George and the kids in his neighborhood collecting enough money together to purchase a football in order to form their own team, which they named The Madison Street Tigers. So, I wrote about it. (UGH! Lengthy explanation. Sorry about that)


  1. The story came through in your poem before I read your explanation :) Wonderful job!

  2. Good!! That's what I was hoping for. I always feel the need to over-explain my poetry.

  3. I like lengthy explanations. This was a good poem too.


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