Gods of the Ring: Part One, Scenes 8-11

Scene 8 : Outside Marvis’ school

Joe Frazier is waiting in his car / Marvis gets in looking dejected

Frazier
Hey son, whats up, you don’t look too special

Marvis
I don’t wanna talk about it, daddy

Frazier
Hey son, if there’s one person in the world
You can talk to, that’ll be your daddy

Marvis
I’m getting into all kind a-trouble
At school

Frazier
Yeah, go on

Marvis
It’s the other kids
They’re like, ‘Ali is gonna whip your dad
Your dad cant fight’ I say why you say that
They say you is a Tom

Frazier
I aint no Tom
Don’t listen to them words, them words are harsh
Spew’d falsely from a liar’s portmanteau

Marvis
So whaddowha do daddy?

Frazier
Just be true
There’s no wrong way to do right, no right way
To do wrong, you aint better than no-one
They aint better than you, only your deeds
May be accounted by those divine eyes
Which watches all we people do on Earth,
Such eyes as those watch’d me work extra hard
& grant our family extra blessings

Marvis
So what shall I say when they call you Tom

Frazier
Just tell them that your poppa make him pay
For purveying untruths, to them relay
Your daddy gonna beat Cassius Clay
& you know, son, that fool got it coming
Spitting razorblades with febrile rash,
I gave my heart & soul to help him out
But the brother came back with a dagger
Plung’d it right in my back, I’m no Yes Man
No White Man’s champion, I represent
The People, believe me I’m one of them,
At six o clock, back at the slaughterhouse
I started my shift, but two hours before
I was in there, training, pounding slabs of meat

Marvis
You’re gonna pound him

Frazier
Sure am, cos I’m a…

Frazier & Marvis
Small piece of leather well put together!

Frazier
I’ll fight him all night long, tear off his wings,
Grind down his stinger

Marvis
I wanna see that

Frazier
You will, son, you will, now lets get ice cream
You want ice cream

Marvis
Pistachio?

Frazier
You got it

Scene 9: America

Enter the Spirit of America

***

ACROSS THE USA

I was born in Arizona
Moved to Tallahassee way
Now I live in California
Where I always want to stay
But if I wanna see America
I got to leave LA
Cos the open road is calling me
Acr.ooss the USA

I caught a bit of Woodstock
But the Hippies smelt too strange
At Altemont I dug the rock
But then I sensed the change
& now its ninety-seventy one
Saigon’s a firing range
A new spirit moves thro’ everyone
With the sixties all estranged

Cos there shines a new America
As bright as the new day
When a boxing bout thrills all of us
Across the USA


***

Before important actions pass to thought
& build a pleasure dome from the project
Those thoughts ensure a Xanadu remain
Of esoteric sensitivities
On foundations of vivid ideas
When imagination’s endless powers
Protagony combines & modifies
With feelings & affections made ideal,
Admire these two prizefighters in their prime
Pois’d in the cyclone’s eye with one purpose,
America is torn & polarised
Between bad guy, good guy, good black, bad black,
There is no middle land, fanatical
Cabins of moonshine, old men with rifles
Bicker cross valleys, this civil war,
Profusing with spiritual foison
Exploding one nation divisible,
Meanwhile, all aspects of our planet’s moon
Reflect the coming bursts of stars & light,
The streets of Buenos Aires are empty,
From Borneo up to the soft-strewn snow
The world stands by, bistros & beerkellers
The retinas of every Human drawn
To one small square of canvas, brightly lit,
& watching on with eager, hungry eyes
See young George Foreman, set to step within
The ropes himself, to fight whomever wins
The Fight of the Century… & begin!

Scene 10: Madison Square Gardens

Muhammad Ali is at his weigh-in

Ali
Who is the champion of the world?
Who is the champion of the world?
If I’m not the champion of the world
Then who is – don’t think about Joe Frazier
Y’all musta come down with amnesia
Forgotten how good I was or something
Let me refresh your memory tonight
I’ll show you what a real champion is
I’ve fixed up the round Joe Frazier goes down
I’m sick & tired of all of this y’see
They took away my title & then talk’d
All this phoney stuff about Joe Frazier
But after tonight there’ll ne no more Joe
This game is real, this aint no phoney game
I’ll fight them all regardless of the risk
I am Heracles struggling thro’ his labours
I am D’Artagnan, Cyrano, El Cid,
When I smile women swoon, grown men shudder
When I scowl, some might say I’m dangerous
Because I’m fighter born & fighter breathe
All those chumps are just commercializing
In a few hours you will all bow to me
{laughter}
I aint laughing, you will all bow to me
{to referee}
I want the exact weight, so take your time

Referee
Its two-eighteen

Ali
Thats dancing weight, lets dance
I’m ten pounds heavier than Joe Frazier
But still I’m looking better than the fool,
Remember I am Muhammad Ali
& evermore the greatest shall I be!

Ding! Ali comes out to meet Frazier but Frazier starts to retreat
If Frazier goes back an inch farther he’ll wind up in a ringside seat
Ali swings to the left, Ali swings to the right. Look at the kid carry the fight.
Frazier keeps backing but thereís not enough room.
Itís a matter of time Ali lowers the boom.
Now Ali lands to the right. What a beautiful swing. And the punch lifts Frazier clean out of the ring.
Frazier’s still rising but the referee wears a frown
For he can’t start counting til Frazier comes down.
Now Frazier disappears from view
The crowd is getting frantic.
But our radar station picks him up
He’s somewhere over the Atlantic.
Who would have thought when they come to the fight
That weíd see the launching of a coloured satellite.

Scene 11:  Madison Square Gardens / Joe Frazier’s dressing room

Joe is praying – the room is very quiet  enter Eddie Futch

Futch
Joe, watcha doin, it is almost time

Frazier
I’m praying

Futch
Sorry

Frazier
That’s OK, I’m done

Futch
I’m glad to say I lived to see this night
& serv’d its better part beside your dreams,
So tell me the substance of your prayers

Frazier
I ask’d the lord to help me kill this man
For lacking righteousness – I’ll kill this man
& even if I have to die myself

Futch
Don’t say that

Frazier
I mean it, this is blood feud
For what he’s done & said God strike him down

Enter Van Colbert

Van Colbert
That vast arena shines electric blue
With every star bright striving to be seen
As if the Milky Way trails unobscur’d
& radiant to the crystal degree

Futch
Tonight the sight of God suspsends his scales
& finds one to be light

Van Colbert
They stand in line
As if the crown jewels of old England
On loan in New York, so many diamonds
There’s Diane Keaton & Ted Kennedy
Gene Kelly, Bill Crosby, Woody Allen
Diana Ross in black, velvet hot pants
Outrageously, glamourously, stylish
Sinatra’s on an assignment for Life
The only way his fame could entrance make
So scarce are the tickets for this catwalk
Of butterblond gals with cadillac souls
All feather’d & furry with laces & boots
& butterfly hair by mink-coated pimps
More the coronation than the fist-fight
Bejewell’d entourages where the men
For once outclass the women in their dress

Futch
So champ, tell me, the moment that you hear
The mad, hollow rumble of the Gardens
& that first leaping heartbeat of the bell
What you gonna do to Cassius Clay

Frazier
I’ll close off the ring, connect with power

Futch
Ya gonna weave, weave,

Frazier
Go in on the weave
I’ll never stop my locomotive steps

Futch
Thats why they call you Smokin’ Joe

Van Colbert
Damn straight

Frazier
I’ll remonstrate his turpitude all night
Keep hooking & ducking, exhaust his force
Then canvas the chump with a clean, straight punch

Futch
Go get him, Joe

Frazier
I’m ready boys, lets go

Futch
This your destiny, boy, don’t forget it

 


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The world’s leading exponent of Dramatic Blank Verse

***

Articles:

Composing Conchordia, Provence

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting the Lockdown

Posted on September 9, 2020, in Conchordia, Gods of the Ring. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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