new poem

Today was the running of the Rock N Roll Marathon.
I had no idea, for me it was just another Saturday morning walk.
The first three runners zoomed past as I turned up Rock Creek Park.
Dark, Kenyans, no doubt.  A fourth zoomed, a definite Ethiopian.
And then the masses, throngs of runners, minutes and miles
of runners, marathoners of all shapes and colors passed me by.
I had a momentary flashback to the USA/Pan Africa Track Meet
I attended in Durham in ’71.  A recent middle distance devotee,
I was in awe of the American runners I saw, Frank Shorter,
Steve Prefontaine.  But I was in triple awe of the African runners
who dominated the field that weekend:  Kip Keino, Mirus Iftar,
Ben Jipcho, Robert Ouko.  Kenyans, Ethiopians, black like me.
African. And I so wanted to be African like them at the time.
Key Bridge was full of runners, crossing over to Virginia
and returning to Chocolate City.  I stayed on the DC side
and did repetitions up and down the Lincoln Memorial steps.
All 41 of them.  My legs wearied and my knees ached as I recalled
the speech at Gettysburg and thought about a new birth of freedom.

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Author: Raymond Maxwell

https://raymmaxx.wordpress.com/ Librarian and archivist-in-training, retired foreign service officer and former naval officer.

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