After Liston, they fell like dominoes:
Folley, Terrell, Williams, Mildenberger,
London, Cooper, Chuvalo, and Patterson,
dizzied by his lightning quick jabs
and the waltz of his dazzling white shoes,
sparkling like chrome
as he bicycled across the canvas.
We stood witness to the creation
of modern day myth—Black Superman
from Krypton, Kentucky,
undefeated god of the ring,
clairvoyant and charismatic,
denigrating and taunting challengers
while staring into his crystal ball.
He wanted to go to heaven so I beat him in seven.
It ain’t no jive, he’ll go in five.
He might be great but he’ll fall in eight.
on the wings of a butterfly,
with foot work, hand speed, and power
that whupped ass.
From Muhammad's Mountain (Lavender Ink, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by John Warner Smith. Used with permission of the author.