Category Archives: Gods of the Ring

Gods of the Ring: Act 1, Scenes 2-4

SCENE 2: MIAMI

5th Street Gym – Foreman is training with his trainer, Dick Sadler – Enter Ali carrying a suitcase

Ali
George Foreman! George Foreman! How ya diddling

Foreman drops his mitts with joy

Foreman
Cassius Clay!

Ali
That aint my name no more
That my slave name

Foreman
Sorry man

Dick
Stop the press!
Muhammad Ali is in Miami
For what do we owe this cockal honour

Ali
I was down in sunny Florida boys
& boxers are the only ones who dig
Truly what its like to be a boxer –
I must admit I miss the test of mein
The sweat of competition, & the ring
Times joyful lie in graves of memories
& I must live vicariously life
So George, I hear y’ave three fights coming up
As quick as my swift left-right-left, yeah?

Foreman
You hear right – on the sixth I’ve Hazelton
Then fight Levi Forte on the sixteenth
With Gary Hobo Wiler two days aft

Ali
Busy boy

Dick
He needs to be kept busy
He get nerve-edged & spleenful if he aint
All that agression & testosterone
Needs to be legally releas’d, ya dig?

Ali
You aiming for Frazier

Foreman
If he’s champ, yeah

Ali
He aint that good, I’ve seen the way he fights
When coming in – he’s weak on uppercuts
True quality don’t melt down from his blood
But listen George, let me show you something
{Foreman sits down, Ali begins to open the suitcase}
Just wait until to lay your gaze on this
If ever you world champion became
Status demands you’re reach’d by one of these

Ali reveals a portable phone – Forman laughs

Ali
What’s so funny?

Foreman
Thought I was gonna see
All the money in the world

Ali
You want it

Foreman
Say what?

Ali
It’s yours for twelve hundred dollars

Foreman
Brother, I aint got that kinda money

Dick
He will have one day, tho’

Ali
I’m sure he will
Just look at those arms gladitorial
I’m hearing good things ’bout that swing of yours
So speak me of yourself, George, where ya from
For we might have to range at blows one day

Foreman
Well – I’m a Texan by birth & by girth
From the infamous, impov’rish’d Fifth Ward
The rotten, scabbing face of Houston’s filth
Got tangl’d up, too many scrapes a child
King of the Fights, Lord of all Bullies
To cheap read wine I turn’d the stolen change
Thro deviant, delinquent alchemie
My only aspiration was to win
The respect of killers by killing too
Until a flash of godly vision fair
Told me to do something, try out this life,
& when I pull’d the gloves on that first dawn
I knew ‘d won salvation in the ring

Ali
Salvation? S’that what they call a whuppin
In Houston?

Dick
My boy don’t take no whuppins
He blest with a catalogue of endowments

Ali
I see just that – to win Olympic gold
No mean feat – it was mine back in Sixty
Joe Frazier won the same in Sixty-four
& both of us went on to rule the world
Well – Joe Frazier’s only the fake champ –
But you dig my meaning, brother

Foreman
I do
To be a classic in one’s own short age
Is tantamount to cosmic excellence

Dick
Your famous gift for scrying things to pass
As acccurate as when you’ve pluck’d the rounds
From living aether’s dream – my man should leap
Like you & Frazier from the rostrum’s edge
Unto the pinnacle of punch & pain,
His power grows uncanny & too much
For the very best veteran fighters
His left returns like recurring pistons
Bigger, stronger, faster Sonny Liston,
With these fists he’s dismissing everyone
Atavic to Numidian giants
Who fought off Rome upon the desert’s fringe
He like a jivehound hiving with the drones
The unearthly scourge of his division
That is the richest it has ever been
Quarry, Ellis, Oscar Bonavena,
Macfoster, Shavers & george Chavala
All steamroll’d by the Houston Tornado

Ali
He don’t scare me – you aint no monster, George
But good luck anyway in all you box –
So, do you want the phone

Foreman
The what

Ali
The phone
You can have it for nine hundred dollars

Foreman
I gone told you I don’t have no money

Dick
He don’t be needing no portable phone

Ali
No sweat, I’m sorry to disturb you boys
& see you both some time along the line

Foreman
Goodbye Muhammad

Dick
That cat’s coming back
I can feel it & I do not like it
That alley cat Ali drives me crazy

Foreman
Maybe so, but the division needs him
& if I’m ever gonna be the champ
Outright & undisputed to the world
I’ll have to fight that madman in the ring

Dick
You’ll have to down Joe Frazier first, so back
To work, come on son, let me see your jabs

George Foreman returns to training


SCENE 3: Philadelphia

The street outside Joe Frazier’s gym, 2917 N. Broad Street / Enter Ali with a rowdy crowd including photographers & a film cameraman

Ali
I want Frazier, I want Frazier, I want
Frazier, I want Frazier, I want Frazier
Come out here Joe, come out here & fight me

Crowd
We want Frazier, we want Frazier, we want
Frazier, we want –

Joe Frazier & Eddie Futch appear at the door

Frazier
What’s all this commotion

Ali
Man, you aint no champion of the world
We end those signal farcicals today
Swerving your curveballs back to real truth

Eddie
What are you doing in Philly, Ali
This aint your town, these cats aint your people

Ali
These cats are sick & tired of hearing lies,
Seeing false visages of victory
They want to see the proper champion
Forgo the inglorious arts of peace
& beat up on an ugly pretender

Frazier
You what!

Ali
Lets go & fight in Fairbank Park

Frazier
You’re crazy man

Ali
Well you’re a coward
The whole world knows you’re a flat-footed bull
Who moves like plowhorse thro’ rain-sodden mud

Frazier
Hey sissy! You can’t hit, you got nothing

Ali
I want you Joe

Frazier
I want you too

Ali
Well then,
At five o clock meet me up at Fairbank
{to the crowd}
I have a lot of speed
I have a lot of endurance
When I’m done with Joe Frazier
He’ll need more insurance
{Crowd laugh}
Joe Frazier too rebarbative to be
The representative of human might
He’d be better off donating his face
To the National Bureau of Wildlife

Frazier
See what I do to your pretty face, Clay

Ali
Whaddaya call me?

Frazier
Clay… Cassius Clay

Ali
Aint so, Cassius Clay is my slave name
I didn’t choose it, I didn’t want it
I am Muhammad Ali, a free name
It means Beloved of God, you dig God?
Joe, right?

Frazier
Dont go bringin’ religion into this
This all about two men gettin’ it on

Ali
Lets get it on then, Joe, in Fairbank Park
At Five o Clock

Frazier
I aint coming you fool
Your dearth of noblesse falls appalingly
I won’t be fighting no lunatic brawl

Ali
Dont be a coward, Joe, see you at five
{to crowd}
Can one of you lovely locals tell me
Where’s the flavourbest ice creams in Phily

Exit Muhammad Ali & the crowd

Eddie
Gassius Cassius, Louisville Lip
Coming making you look bad in your crib
I thought he was your friend

Frazier
Yeah, so did I

Eddie
Funny way to show it

Frazier
He don’t rile me
He nutting but a shunting stunt monkey
Engladdening the basest strains of men
When lenses land upon him he cries fake
But I guess such zero-adding antics
Won’t hurt a jot when come the paycheques, right?

Eddie
You wanna fight that schmuck

Frazier
He’s outta shape
& outta touch with all reality
For Mister Bigshot Sixties decades change

Eddie
So back to work, focus on Joe Ellis

Frazier
His time will come, I’ve seen it in my dreams

Eddie Futch & Joe Frazier re-enter the gym


SCENE 4: Fairbank Park, Philadelphia

Muhammad Ali is surrounded by a large crowd chanting ‘Ali-Ali-Ali-Ali-Ali’

Ali
I’m Hercules struggling thro’ his labours
I’m D’Artagnan, Cyrano & El Cid
When I smile women swoon, grown men shudder
As I scowl, some would say I’m dangerous
Too dangerous, it seems, for Joe Frazier
& prettier by untold magnitudes
A better boxer obvious to all
Tho’ Uncle Tom got my championship
They refus’d to fight me at five o clock
Its now ten past, shows Frazier was afraid
Of a good whuppin in front of you all
Here I am, aint had a fight in three years
Carrying an extra twenty-five pounds
& Joe don’t show up, what kind of a champ
Is that

Crowd-member 1
Joe’s just a phoney

Ali
He sure is
& now we’ve all seen he just a coward
I’ll have to find another way to scrub
The tainted glaze of someone’s else’s hands
Upon my sacred crown, but I’ll need dough
To pay this Supreme Court date coming up
So off I go to Broadway

Crowd
Broadway

Ali
Yeah
To sing a heap of songs in Uncle Buck

Crowdmember 2
Right on

Crowdmember 3
Give us a song

Ali
You’ll have to wait
But boy, am  Ithe world’s greatest singer

Exit Ali & crowd


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

Gods of the Ring: Act 1, Prologue-Scene 1

stars_and_stripes_by_divinedesign


The Greatest Play Ever Written


PROLOGUE

Enter the Spirit of America & her angels

Angels
The Spirit of America shall speak

America
O for a Muse of air, that would transcend
The lightest season of convincive art,
As here, as erst upon an antique stage,
I rise to thee a proud exordial,
Long sent to steer this vessel of repute
Across a raft of retrospective wits
Adorning this gymnic Conchordia
Uploaded with prologean Chorus,
Such dainty diversions stand antidote
To times of dull labour, outstandingly,
To live thro’ deeds, not years, thro’ thoughts, not breath,
Thro’ intimacies of imitancy
Rare souls yet rouse Humanity to ken
Fair prospers capabilities within
Each all of us to be a living God
Admir’d & worship’d widely ‘cross the world
My golden theme such Giants of the Sun
Melded ankle-deep, brutal gang of three,
Forming a cosmic counterpoint to life
Four years of fabulous entanglements
As much excitement as a night can bear
As much commotion as a land can stand
Exploding beyond borders thro’ the Globe
Pantomimean pandemonium
Of boxing; its burlesque imperative,
Its irreproducable accident
Of history; its outstanding resolve
Thro’ acts of beauty, countrymen come hear
The names of our three principles, Ali
Frazier & Foreman – hear the angels sing

Angels
Welcome, yes welcome, ye Gods of the Ring

***

OVERTURE

America
When Smoking Joe Frazier met Muhammad Ali
It was the Fight (FIGHT) of the Century
When Foreman floor’d Frazier the talk of all Jamaica
Was the height (HEIGHT) of brutality

We don’t believe what we’re seeing
Got no right to call them human beings
As they fight their way thro mortal ceilings
As the angels sing

Angels
Welcome ye Gods of the Ring

 

America
When Foreman took a tumble the Rumble in the Jungle
Was a night (OF) immortality
& man what a killer the Thrilla in Manilla
Saw the might (MIGHT) of humanity

We don’t believe what we’re seeing
Got no right to call them human beings
As they fight their way thro mortal ceilings
As the angels sing

Angels
Welcome ye Gods of the Ring

***


CC27-Comparo-Eldo-f3qtr-4

SCENE 1: Philadelphia

Joe Frazier is sat in his car singing along to the radio – Muhammad Ali knocks on the window – Frazier gestures to Ali to get in the car – Enter Muhammad Ali carrying a suitcase

Ali
Hey, man, nice wheels

Frazier
Front-drive Eldorado

Ali
The Queen o’ Cadillacs I heard ’em say

Frazier
So where you wanna go

Ali
The bus station

Frazier
Sure, that aint far, I’m happy to oblige

Ali
Look at us, undefeated champions
Of the whole world’s heavyweight division
All in one space & ne’er comin’ to blows

Frazier
There’s a time & a place for that action
Mine was no ignoble supplantation
My honour says we’ll have to fight one day
I’ve even sent the Supreme Court letters
Begging them return your boxing license

Ali
I dig that, brother, your soul is shining
You got good days ahead, too, good money
You got Mac Foster coming up; Foreman –
George Foreman – both million-dollar gates
Rip’ning all the time, beautiful paydays
You got it made if you just play it cool,
But big up the truth, man, if you fought me,
Would you be scared?

Frazier
No, man, honest to God

Ali
You really wouldn’t be

Frazier
No kinda way

Ali
I mean my fast left jab, the way I dance?

Frazier
Noooooo! I’d get close to you, I’ve heard ’em talk
‘Bout how fast you is, moving away, but
You’ll find out how fast I am moving in.

Ali
Remember that time you came to see me
Fight Zora Folley? You wanted to learn
From me

Frazier
We all know a time of learning.

Ali
You believe you learnt enough to fight me?

Frazier
Hell, yeah! Maybe even if I didn’t
Know enough, I would never turn you down –
For any man that turns another down
In his profession deem less than a man

Ali
What if a man is wise & bides his time
As when we watch’d delinquents stab their knives
Stood safely by on sidewalks when us boys

Frazier
I’m ready now to beat you fair & square

Ali
So, do you think you could decision me,
Or could even stop me before fifteen?

Frazier
I’m sure I could stop you before fifteen.

Ali
You really do?

Frazier
I really do. You see,
The kinda stuff on you I’m gonna put
Y’ain’t ever seen before, you understand?

Ali
It’s impossible to dodge my jab

image-51

Frazier
Those other cats let you have it your way
Just like they let me have it my way, dig?
They let you jump around the ring, and dance,
But I’d be getting me right dead on you
Every time you breathe you would be breathing
Right down on my head.

Ali
You never whip me
You be tired after six rounds of scuffling.

Frazier
You be tired, too, trying to get away
Running and jabbing, ducking and dodging
You be tired, too.

Ali
I’m stronger than you think
{long pause}
I really believe you afraid of me

Frazier
{long pause}
No, I sure ain’t – I wanna fight you bad

Ali
After I get myself into good shape,
I’m gonna dance and move like Sugar Ray.
S’impossible to whip me with your style

Frazier
Well, I been up against real race horses
But I’ve whipp’d ’em all down to a slow trot.
Slammin’ sticky quicksand under bruis’d hooves.

Ali
I’ll admit you good, but I’m the fastest
Fist in the history of the whole world.

Frazier
Moving away, maybe, but moving in,
No way, that’s me, I’m fastest moving in

Ali
But you don’t have no jab.

Frazier
{aghast, almost stops car}
I don’t have a jab?

Ali
Keep driving! Watch it! No, you got no jab

Frazier
But man, I’d tear your head off with a jab!
I’ve got a jab like a cool machine gun

Ali
I’ve seen you box, I fought Sonny Liston twice,
When he was at his best – Floyd Patterson
I beat, & all those title defenses
Like Mildenberger & Henry Cooper.

Frazier
What you want me to do?

Ali
And I fought
Zora Folley & Cleveland Williams

Frazier
Which one you want me to fight?

Ali
They all beat – but leaving out me & you
Who you think would be the best two to fight
The all-time title

Frazier
Oh, like Joe Louis
& Jack Johnson

Ali
Damn straight, that’s who I think.

Frazier
Yeah, man, y’know I hope you do get back.
But, man, you ain’t gonna do no whipping.
Not on me. I hope there’ll be no hard feelings
When I whip your ass
{Sees Ali about to cut in}
Brother let me talk!
Got no hard feelings with you anyplace
But when we in the ring, you on your own.

Ali
But you be on your ownsome lonesome, too

Frazier
That’s the only way I know how to be.

Ali
If we can’t get along, let’s get it on.

Frazier
We’ll get it on. Ain’t no doubt about that.
Once that bell rings, I see you psych ’em out
But me, I’m a different cut – I’m the
Greatest psych artist ever put on earth
You’d outpsych Houdini easy than me

Ali
For that smart remark, here’s my prediction
A perfect blueprint of the first five rounds

Frazier
Who say you gonna last that –

Ali
Let me talk!
That night of the fight at the ticket booth,
I want the people to pick up the program,
See written out round-by-round what I’ll do
Like reading menus for an eight-course meal
Now the first round–Dong! See me coming out
But I ain’t gonna do nothing, no need
Just gonna show you off as an amateur,
I won’t throw one punch, I’m just gonna dance
& hold my guard down by my groovin’ hips
Gonna dance and move like I did with Floyd
Patterson, ‘what’s the matter son,’ I’ll say
As you don’t even get in one poor punch
But still, I’m gonna let you win that round.
Then, second round–Dong! I’m coming out fast,
I’ won’t be shooting nothing but left jabs.
Gonna hold my right hand down by my side
I won’t be needing it for no protection,
Nothing but left jabs, nothing but left jabs,
Here comes the jabs . . . then the third round–Dong!
I’m coming out, putting footwork together
Jabs together, right crosses together
& here come the unstoppable left hooks

Frazier
{exploding}
Sounds like you done won the fight already–

Ali
I aint gonna miss a left jab that round
And after that fifth round–

Frazier
{can’t stand it any longer}
Wait, wait–

Ali
You say what you say when I’m through

Frazier
Go & muzzle up that Nostradamus

Ali
Lemme finish, man, don’t be getting scared,

Frazier
Scared?

Ali
Yeah. Now, in the fourth round–

Frazier
{angry}
It’s coming off!
This fight has got to come off!

Ali
The fourth round–
I’l tie you up & in your feetless fifth
I’m gonna right-cross you, talking to you,
Telling you the history of your life
Teaching you & inventing new punches

Frazier
Now where I’m gonna be at all this time
Ya doing all these things, counting fingers?

Ali
You will be trying to throw everything
But none of those knick-knacks are gonna land

Frazier
Hear me Clay, it ain’t gonna be that way.

Ali
{shrugs}
You have a right to say that, as have I

Frazier
The right to say what I would wanna say
& now I’m gonna tell you what I feel
Its gonna go, you gonna run about,
A few rounds, throw a few pansy punches
Then in the sixth I’m gonna knock you down

Ali
No! Listen! Don’t you try my predicting

Frazier
I’m telling you

Ali
Be sure you back it up!
Your behind gonna be mine in round nine!
As soon as you start working the body,
I’m gonna shoot for your head–quick! WHIP! WHIP! WHIP!
You won’t get to my body ‘less you clinch

Ring Magazine Cover - Joe Frazier and Jerry Quarry

Frazier
Outta twenty-six fights I ain’t never
Held on to a man

Ali
But brother listen
We know the truth by reason & by heart
Something tells me you & me got bizness
I hope you’re still the champ when I get back
Effluent with unstocking’d refluence
All this for saying no to killing folk
Pinn’d down by an imperial pastern
I aint no triggerhappy dilettante
I got no quarrel with the Vietcong
No Vietcong ever call’d me nigger
Those Vietcong don’t put no dogs on me
Nor robb’d me of my nationhood, hey look
Its the station, pull over

Frazier
Sure thing, man

Ali
Nice one brother, real nice, & thank-you, hey!

Frazier
Yeah

Ali
You don’t have any money to spare
I’m short for the ticket

Frazier
Hah! Of course man

Ali
You’ll get it back with int’rest when we fight

Frazier
Here’s a hundred bucks

Ali
You’re a good brother,
Better friend, farewell & be prosperous

Exit Muhammad Ali


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