Randy Baker

    for Upton

It’s odd when I think of it.
We used to live ‘round the way
from Tappa Zukie’s yard
and now when I picture you,
my mind plays that song of his.
We would hear it echoing 
from the sound systems
down in the valley.
“The General,” it was called
and that’s what we called ourselves.
Top rankin’. Rebels on the razor’s edge
of adolescence.
I made it a million miles
from that mountaintop.
You never made it to twenty.
I conjure your face and hear those lyrics,
scratchy like vinyl on the turntable,
or those last years of your life,
echoing still, across this chasm of time,
a 12” dub of prophesy;
I just looked around and he was gone.

Randy Baker lives in Clarksville, Tennessee with his wife and daughter. Long before he knew that sociologists had coined the term “third culture kid”, he was simply known as a Jamerican. He writes fiction, poetry and dabbles with photography. His words and images have appeared in The Caribbean Writertongues of the oceanPOUI: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing and Barren Magazine, among others. He has published one chapbook, “Beyond the Horizon” and was the founding editor of St. Somewhere Journal