“How Come You’re Not Listening to me?” – A Poem by Ernie McCray

by on August 17, 2011 · 6 comments

in Civil Rights

Image courtesy of cutey5 via flickr.com

I remember a night
my wife said to me:
“How come you’re not listening to me?”
Well, I wanted to listen,
you see,
because I’m a good listener
in actuality,
but my mind
was occupied
by something real freaky
that was
going down
in front of me
on my TV
in a form of reality
one doesn’t often see
unless that someone
lives in a world
where things most spectacular
are seen regularly
Oh, I was trying to listen
but looking got in the way;
it was a basketball play
but if I tried to describe
it on a chalk board
with x’s and o’s
you’d have to
really be on your toes
to comprehend
what I be trying
to register in your brain.
It was insane
in the membrane.
Went like this:
Magic Earvin Johnson
jumped up between
two dudes who had
to average seven foot three,
snatched the ball
out of the air
like he just didn’t care,
like this was to him
akin to breathing fresh air.
And I mean snatch.
He grabbed that ball
like it had committed a
Three Strikes Felony
and he was making a citizen arrest
and then he took off dribbling
the other way,
which, for rhyming purposes,
just happened to be west,
weaving like a hummingbird
through the
“de-fense” –
some hapless dudes
just a waving their arms
and shifting their happy feet,
trying to “stay in front of their man”
according to a philosophy
that coaches have preached
since the “beginning of man” –
then Magic,
“The Man,”
took command,
as I recall it in my mind,
as though the exorcist
had control of his head,
in this moment in time,
because in a blip
he was looking straight ahead
and then all I could see was the back of his head
and then one side of his head
and then the other side of his head –
all this, seemingly, at the same time.
But each glimpse of his face
let the guys in his way know:
“Yo’ ass is mine!”
And he picked out James Worthy
who was running behind
like Kunta Kinte
heading north of the
Mason and Dixon Line –
and he hit him with a pass
that looked like
it came out of his behind
and Worthy,
to his surprise,
came to realize
that he had a ball in his hand
and a rim
waiting for a jam!
Thank you, Ma’am!
My woman,
who only saw the last part of all this even had to go:
Jack Nicholson
was Oh-ing and Ah-ing
all over the place
with an expression
on his face
that, forsooth,
indicated that
he couldn’t handle the truth.

And speaking of the truth:
not all answers to “How come you’re not listening to me?”
come this easily.
Listen to your squeeze,
sez me.

Image courtesy of cutey5 via flickr.com.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

JFK August 18, 2011 at 8:03 pm

It’s happened to me watching an outrageous catch, a floating dunk perceived in slo-mo or Deion Primetime leaving jockstraps all over the football field. Instead of a TIA, it’s called transient wife deafness


Ernie McCray August 18, 2011 at 10:44 pm

I’ve viewed that a few times.


Moshee O August 19, 2011 at 12:25 am



Ernie McCray August 19, 2011 at 11:28 am

Funny. That was my hope. Thanks, Moshee O.


Toya August 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Funny. Yet powerful.


Ernie McCray August 20, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Thanks for the comment, kiddo.


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