On A Sunday

On a Sunday

By: Quincy Troupe


eye remember seeing the oblong fruit—mango,

papaya—in a photo of a lynched black man’s

head fixed above the exclamation point of his tad-

pole body, swaying easy in a tree in a gentle


breeze, it is summer in my memory, warm,

not yet swelteringly hot in southern steel country


alabama, outside birmingham, where

john coltrane blew hauntingly of four little black girls


blown to smithereens on a sunday, in church,

eye also remember hearing chuck berry playing guitar


on a sunday, in the back seat of his white cadillac car,

driven by his red-haired black wife, cruising st. louis


blues streets, singing, “roll over beethoven,

tell tchaikovsky the news, there’s a new kind


of music called rhythm ‘n’ blues,” on that sunday

the sky was blue as it was in my memory—


where all things are elusively fixed,

because nothing is ever permanent save change—


cobalt blue, sapphire blue, cerulean blue

when eye saw the lynched man’s head in the photograph


oblique above the exclamation point of his tadpole body,

it was a sapphire-blue sunday in the deep freeze


of january, when barack obama

took the oath of office, became the forty-fourth


president of this divided nation in crisis,

the voices of reason were thrown out the window


like bathwater, soap, an infant in a small plastic tub,

a bawling baby hitting the ground, breath atomized


as vaporizing matter, misted into the air in a fog

like an elegy, a sunday listening to punditry talking—


points hitting the fan on TV screens, their elegies

leering all over the planet, richly paid for drivel,


their infested dialogue, their blather like plagues,

prattling disinformation, sluiced through airwaves,


zapping clueless people inside their atomized brains,

glued, as they are, to these talking heads flashing


expensive dental-wear as they natter their shopworn

rhetoric into cameras, connecting us to them


through plasma TV screens, on glory bird sundays

& the blues as a way of life everywhere, even on sundays


when all things are elusively fixed, even words of sermons,

because nothing is ever permanent save change,


the sky sometimes blue as a sapphire woman

wearing red, her hips moving from side to side, beckoning


with her sensuous, sashaying hips, come-t0-me-poppa strut,

seducing where the gospel of sweetness is elusively fixed


inside a church, a juke joint, the music hot as her allure,

hittin’ it, layin’ the mojo down, conjurin’ up wicked


spirits, as poets raising the roof from its foundation up

into cerulean-blue, sapphire-blue, cobalt-blue air,


preachers running the gospel down on sundays with their

sermons everywhere, people living inside their memories,


where all things are elusively fixed, but here

nothing is ever permanent save change after change


nothing is ever permanent save change


About the Author:

(Excerpt is taken from; https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/quincy-troupe)


Quincy Troupe was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of a professional baseball player. After studying for two semesters at Grambling College on a scholarship, he left to join the army. When his service ended, he moved to Los Angeles, California and began teaching writing workshops at the Watts Writers Workshop. He later held positions at the University of California, San Diego; Ohio University; the College of Staten Island; and California State University. He also taught in the Columbia University Graduate Writing Program, as well as at various institutions abroad. His many poetry collections include Seduction: New Poems, 2013-2018; Ghost Voices: A Poem in Prayer (2018); Errançities (2011); The Architecture of Language (2007), which won the Paterson Award for Sustained Achievement; Choruses (1999); and the American Book Award-winning Snake-back Solos: Selected Poems, 1969–1977 (1979). A noted performer of his work, Troupe has twice won the prestigious Heavyweight Champion of Poetry, a distinction given by the World Poetry Bout of Taos. He has also founded and edited magazines such as Confrontation: A Journal of Third World Literature, American Rag, and Code, where he was editorial director.

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