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Carolyn Baxter poet

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James Brown The one and Only
By Carolyn Baxter poet
Sunday, December 31, 2006

Rated "G" by the Author.

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This is a story about Growing up in Harlem N.Y.And seeing the Godfather of S.O.U.L Mr.James Brown,and what the World Famous Apollo Theatre means ro me.


Harlem 1966

At the Penny arcade with two best friends

ribbons kite tale flyin


blushin boys with waves

the Apollo theatre

our chins on the stage.

We lived at the Apollo everyday was Saturday

the matinee

two movies

and a Cartoon.

pitch black excitement intimate

like before you fall asleep into a Good Dream

King Curtis and the Kingpins heard warming up backstage,

Butts bouncing on seats, pullin at each others arms ready to scream an shout

The big Voice about to come out

Live from where you could never figure out.

We looked up at the Screen where 007 saved the World .

He was the only white man in Harlem,

along with a few Italians from the 'Spaghetti' Westerns

an Bugs Bunny with his proverbial Question

Ehhhhh what’s up Doc?

But thas ok.

Fantasy eclipsed to History.


we allowed them in 'OUR WORLD’’

The Black and white clip rode the bold Voice Like a Riff from' prez' we stared up

mouth open as in Holy Communion

Blessed with the sweet taste of Music

artistic Infinity

On name for name after

'Welcome to the World Famous Apollo Theatre Home of '

Diana Washington

Lena Horn

Sarah Vaughn

Sammy Davis JR.

Paul Robeson

Redd Foxx

The Temptations

Smoky Robinson and the Miracles

The O"Jay's

Pigment Markham

Martha Reeves and The Van-Dellas

The SU-Preems

at 12 years old butterflies of birdsong notes full of excitement

started up our arms as the flute trilled.

base beat authority timeless steps into the past

syncopated girlish anticipation.

we went to the our parents generation

Brook Benton

Ertha Kitt

Johnny Mathis

Miles Davis

Moms Mabley

We were trapped in the fifties

Ray Charles

Ornet Colman

The Five Blind Boys

Mahailia Jackson.

Dexter Gordon.

Drum laid Funk that Kicked us back

to our time and space

Aretha Franklin

The Isley Brothers

The Five Stair steps

The Jackson Five

The Four tops.

Gladys Knight and the pips

Otis Redding

Sly and The Family Stone

Curtis Mayfield.

Freda Payne

We knew every name

We could skip a Grade

or get left back by the time

you heard Roberta Flack.

As the curtain opened

polished chrome colorful candy flavored

lights of red, yellow purple green

And brass in the silent black waiting...

Then There they were

all in blue Silk suits

with their backs to us

The Temptations.

They turned with Precision in unison

'I heard it through the Grapevine

just about to loose my mind!'

We were hooked handful of

mesmerized kids Frozen in the matinee show

as Otis and Eddie showed us original talent

the tone of my Culture the song of my Heritage.

Perfect Performing Royalty

as if a Presidential performance

last one in History.

Performed for 'Royalty'

Was ’’us’’ little Girls wonder

In our Palace

Hidden under crime

an Master Poverty.

After Billy Stewarts singing rap word play

'I lova you soda right now

never never gonna let gonna let you go na na naaa'

Smoky Robinson and the Miracles

‘’Tracks of my tears’’

Archie Bell and the Drells

and 'Tightened it up'.

Moms Mabley making us Laugh

she was the Black' Minnie Pearl'

cept she wore white sneakers and had no teeth.

What I’m gonna do with a OLD MAN!

'Don’t want no old man!

'anytime you see me with a 'old man' he’s a Relative'.

The Imperials

The Unifics

The Dells

We felt our selves, our identity

Every cell being carved

Honed into a Positive self.

We’d race home

Put the records on with yellow plastic disk

so the 45 records wouldn’t flop off the turntable

grab the broomstick(our mic)

sing every word

innocence held our Voices cracking our Giggles

laughing with us on the off notes.

spiced ham an cheese sandwiches on hero bread(spiced ham is ghetto Ham) big pitcher of 'Flava Flav Kool aid'(that’s Ghetto 'Kool-Aid 3packs for a quarter) fall asleep on the floor

talking bout how fine Smokey is, an what they all wore.

Harlem then was Pillow Fights

the iceman selling ice,

Staked near the curb

Chockfull o nuts where Brothers spoke words of Revolution

Fruit an Vegetable man

125/Lenox ave. had

a red black an Green Flag


Water melon and a New Day.

Harlem then

was The Hotel Teresa before Malcolm got killed

before Senator Kennedy’s son O.D ed.

Harlem was

Gray Tenement Dusk

and Apollo dreams in the Sixties,

Harlem 1972

Say it Loud I’m Black an I'm Proud!

Say it LOUD I’m BLACK an I'm PROUD!!

Stand out in a crowd

Redbone gansta lean

reppin the Red, Black, an Green

Got the best Weed, a Lil Acid, Speed..

Aint the Chicago seven and the Panther 5 Freed?

'Whitey' don’t fuck with me..

Supa-Fly Guy Cadillac ride,

on the custom side

chinchilla hoes side by side

diamonds in ya eyes

from that snow you pushin

take ya sky high.

pimps from the slow track

from the taters

to the 'Gaters' money getting

no money haters

brought bottom hoes to the Big show

at the Apollo.


Fast track playas from midtown Manhattan

white hoes stopping traffic

getting dollar looks big drug connection action.

Cars double parked rapped around the Block

Harlem with James Brown Headlining was the spot.

Live Double album

' Sex Machine'

we teens laughed at the Pimps fake esteem.

They gave my friends an our suede an leather

Afro Attitude a smile or two

they knew we was lil renegade Hustlas

our style yelled we dressing jus like you.

Youngblood’s we got money to

We learning from you.




5 Beats was Locked in the Groove.

Made the sound

Boogie down to the Ground

Owned the Town

James Brown


noon chucked the Mic stand with his feet

swung the mike cord like a yoyo string

rocked the cradle an put the baby to sleep

loop de loop

swing low

round and round

split the Ground

But Never fell in

James Brown owns the Apollo.




can I do my thang!..

I said can get up and do MYY THANNNG!

movin ..





was all I heard the roar like a Thousand People all fell in a huge hole together


to' FUNKY in Here'

dancing in the Isles

5 hours or more

No exits no doors

'Open up the Window MAN!'.

To Funky IN Here!

Give the Drummer some

There’s only one

James Brown

James Brown

Birthed Funk

We the crowd his Children

breathed FUNK

ate Funk

smelled Funk

danced Funk

that night we were Baptized in Funk.

There’s more Soul in James Brown Than a Baptist Church

Than mamas Collard Greens

Smoked Turkey wings and black peas.

more Soul than Grandmas Sweet potato Pie

Diamonds of sweat from his Brow

African Agility

on bent knee

draped in Kings Robes to entertain.

The reflection of Soul

The North star of Pride in his eyes

so his People would never Lose their way home.

















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Reviewed by elizabeth marcano 4/12/2007
i have to read a poem for my speech class
this may be the one
it got rythm but doesnt rhyme
but makes sense
thanks carolyn

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