A Poem For “Magic”

by Quincy Troupe
take it to the hoop, “magic” johnson
take the ball dazzling down the open lane
herk & jerk & raise your six feet nine inch
frame into air sweating screams of your neon name
“magic” johnson, nicknamed “windex” way back in high school
cause you wiped glass backboards so clean
where you first juked & shook
wiled your way to glory
a new style fusion of shake & bake energy
using everything possible, you created your own space
to fly through–any moment now, we expect your wings
to spread feathers for that spooky take-off of yours–
then shake & glide, till you hammer home
a clotheslining deuce off glass
now, come on down with reverse hoodoo gem
off the spin, & stick it in sweet, popping nets, clean
from twenty feet, right-side

put the ball on the floor, “magic”
slide the dribble behind your back, ease it deftly
between your bony, stork legs, head bobbing everywhichway
up & down, you see everything on the court
off the high, yoyo patter, stop & go dribble, you shoot
a threading needle rope pass, sweet home to kareem
cutting through the lane, his skyhook pops cords
now lead the fastbreak, hit worthy on the fly on the fly
off the fake, looking the other way
you raise off balance into space
sweating chants of your name, turn, 180 degrees
off the move, your legs scissoring space, like a swimmer’s
yoyoing motion. in deep water, stretching out now toward free
flight, you double pump through human trees, hang in place
slip the ball into your left hand
then deal it like a las vegas card dealer
off squared glass, into nets, living up to your singular nickname
so “bad,” you cartwheel the crowd towards frenzy
wearing now your electric smile, neon as your name

In victory, we suddenly sense your glorious uplift
your urgent need to be champion
& so we cheer, rejoicing with you, for this quicksilver, quicksilver                                                                                        quicksilver
moment of fame, so put the ball on the floor again, “magic”
juke & dazzle, shake & bake down the land
take the sucker to the hop, “magic” johnson,
recreate reverse hoodoo gems off the spin,
deal alley-oop-dunk-a-thon-magician passes
now, double-pump, scissor, vamp through space
hang in place & put it all up in the sucker’s face, “magic”
johnson, & deal the roundball, like the juju man that you am
like the sho-nuff shaman man that you a
“magic,” like the sho-nuff spaceman, you am

70 responses to “A Poem For “Magic”

  1. I think you have to be a fan of Magic Johnson to truly appreciate this poem. It was a fun read though because the passion that is portrayed in the poem could be applied to more than just sports.

  2. I would like to say that I am amazed on how descriptive Quincy can be on something as simple as dribbling a ball down the court and scoring. But this poem brings out a feeling of joy for those who have experienced a situation like this one. It does not necessarily have to be a sport, it could be anything that person is good at. Magic Johnson was good at basketball and did things like in the poem, maybe someone else is good at something else and can do amazing things at that specific thing they are good at. The feeling is the same wether its basketball or anything else.

  3. I believe this poem would have more appreciation if the reader was more into basketball, not just magic johnson. However, it was a good poem because it was pretty descriptive. As i was reading it, i got a good mental picture of what the poet was providing about how magic johnson played the sport.

  4. The flow of the poem was what intrigued me. Quincy Troupe’s style is something to be revered. Although, I did not choose this poem to do my essay on, it would have been my second choice. It was really good to read and it just kept picking up the pace towards the end. It is very clear that Troupe had a fun time writing this; I appreciate that in a poet. I love to read something that I know somebody else had just as much fun writing it.

  5. This poem is much more than what is on the surface. Sports go deeper than the activity. I have played a big range of sports, from soccer to football to chess, to even videogames. Pulling off big plays are magical. When I reminisce of those times I juked an entire team and scored a goal, it does not even seem real. Even when I talk about those accomplishments, adjectives and sounds similar to Troupes poem are what i use to convey how it felt to be there.

  6. This poem was very different form the rest that have been posted on this website. However it was interesting to hear a poem of a famous basketball player. I enjoyed how descriptive it was, and how detailed it was.

  7. This poem reflects the passion and love a person of the sport has. The determination to be a great player in the sport you’ve put so much time into it pays off.

  8. Okay now I do not feel as bad commenting now. I completely agree with Angela. I believe that you must have to be a huge fan of Magic Johnson in order to truly appreciate this poem.

  9. I feel bad about what I’m going to say, but I really dislike this poem. Yes, it’s well written and Troupe does a great job of making the words come to life; there were even moments when I felt like, “yeah that’s pretty sweet – magic.” But all in all I don’t like that the idea that one man can be so star struck by another man that he compares him to something that is out of this world. He played basketball… why does that make him so great?

  10. I love this poem the most out of all the poems because I am a laker fan and this poem for Magic Johnson is perfect. it is very descriptive and describes Magic perfectly, if no one has seen him play before then people should really look him up he is super exciting to watch.

  11. The drive and the passion Magic Johnson has has become an art for something he loves. This is a very motivating poem. Not just for athletes but for people who need a little encouragement to do what they a love passionately.

  12. Quincy Troupes style is a strong unique style of poetry. I enjoyed reading his Magic Johnson poem because he uses strong visual sentences that capture my attention and thoughts. Overall his poem is powerful and a masterpiece.

  13. As Troupe put, language is a living thing, it communicates to people and reflects where one’s from, what one breathes, and in this poem, what one senses in the basketball court. The words in this poem vividly capture how great Magic Johnson was from the witness reports from all the senses. Not only can one relive the spectacular show Magic put together, one can also feel an intensive, blood boiling emotions from the words Troupe uses. This is a perfect example how words can really come alive!

  14. This poem is really different, in a very good way. The way someone can express someone’s success in such an art is amazing, it inspires the reader to believe and not give up on themselves and what they are inspired by.

  15. Great use of imagery. You almost want to close your eyes after every line read and picture it in the now. If you didn’t know Magic Johnson, one might be intrigued to Google some footage after reading this. I thought my father was just obsessed but people love this man on and off the court. I love the grammatical errors and slang jargon used as well, it made it more personal to the reader.

  16. This poem had a lot of description and imagery in it and was very easy to read. I liked how the poem described Magic Johnson even if someone didn’t know anything about basketball or knew who Magic Johnson was it made it clear in the poem and interesting to read because of all the details in the poem.

  17. This was a great poem with a lot of imagery that illustrated how Magic Johnson played the game of basketball. Even if you are not a basketball fan or do not know Magic Johnson this poem by Quincy Troupe sums up Johnson perfectly. The language in which Troupe used was to target children that watch basketball or played so they can relate to the poem.

  18. After reading this very descriptive poem I can’t but wonder if the poet infringed on some of the sayings that were coined by the late great Lakers announcer Chick Hearns. That being said, it does evoke the 80’s basketball/ early 90’s jargon used by many announcers. I wouldn’t mind reading a modern version of this poem, perhaps with a current player, such as Lebron James and of course today’s basketball adages and sayings.

  19. (swish) Noth’n but net. Hi, im Magic Zack and I want to tell you that this poem was great and very intense. There was a lot of passion in the speakers voice to really get the message through. Great writing.

  20. Many people don’t understand what poetry truly is.
    To be able to deliver a visual and mental image that can be felt emotionally.
    That is poetry. I loved hearing this poem, but even more so reading it myself. I felt as though I was actually at a Magic Johnson basketball game.
    I could feel the poets passion and I could also feel MJ’s passion for the game.
    This was an exciting piece.

  21. The drive, passion, athleticism, and motivation he has, I can relate to. Anyone who has the same in something they enjoy doing. By the way this poem is written has a nice rhythm, it gives you a nice image of what’s going on in his eyes and always what we can see.

  22. Great, is Great is Great. The words in this poem are not only great, but the level of greatness that this individual (owns) is more than words. Considering I am a native of Los Angeles, when I read this poem it put me back in those years when Magic Johnson was an inspiration to many. Even to those who were not really into sports. The words in this poem brought me back to years of inspiration and joy. The detailed words in this poem made me feel excited and proud of a person with so much talent and so much greatness. The video, is just a mere fraction of what was the talent, the poems description gave me that actual feeling of that time. Excellent poem, excellent.

  23. After reading this poem by Ouincy Trope, I believe that anybody who supported the era of “Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers” can feel a great sense of nostalgia and excitement from reading this poem. I myself was born in the 1990’s so I was unable to watch this team. However, this poem was very vivid and alive. I felt as if I were sitting court side watching Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers.

  24. After watching the documentary on quincy the first week of class, immediately fell in love with his energy and style of writing! This poem is very vivid and loud! ” Language is living” -Quincy
    I love how he uses the realities of life to add to his poetry.

  25. This poem is a perfect example of how anything that truly drives you and puts passion in your soul can turn into art. I’m an athlete myself and reading and hearing this poem motivates me more. I love the fact that this poem shows how much drive Magic Johnson has for the game and he won’t rest until he is the best. In my eyes, this poem gives people a sense of hope and who doesn’t need all the hope they can get now a days…

    • I would have to agree with you there. When I first thought how could something so simple turn out so beautiful and inspiring I thought it could not be done. Yet this piece has shown me that if you have the drive then you can succeed and make something beautiful.

  26. Truly I tell you art is everywhere. Passion for what you do is the theme that applies to this poem. It is different to read a poem about basketball and not about love. Certainly, the author takes it to another level by putting words that expresses the love and beauty of the sport. This poem is also incredible because it mentions Magic Johnson one of the best basketball players.

  27. This poem is truly inspiring, I remember when we heard it in class I was just so amazed that someone can really write a poem about basketball. Magic Johnson is a legend and the fact someone wrote such a great poem about him is just completely uplifting. Quincy Troupe is truly an artist with how he speaks his words and his style is just amazing.

  28. This poem is a great example of how anything can be turned into a art-form if one loves what they do. I believe that in most peoples minds the world art is reserved for great paintings or a grand sculpture, but the truth is that art is an everyday event. It is just an expression of who you truly are and finding beauty in the things you love.

  29. Magic Johnson, in my opinion, is one of the greatest basketball players to have ever stepped into a basketball court. His quick reflexes, fast moves, and high jumps made him a key player for the Los Angeles Lakers. Magic is also one of few athletes that have achieved financial success outside of a basketball court. His shared investments in the Lakers, Starbucks, and Dodgers have not only made him a self made millionaire, but also wise a business man.

  30. Hearing any works of art that pay tribute to a specific individual is uplifting. Magic Johnson’s career and talent has inspired many people around the country and is truly an icon in sports history. The author Quincy Troupe has the necessary passion that one must have when showing thanks. Magic’s presence will always be admired.

  31. I can definitely appreciate this poem because of the fact that I am a huge sports fan. Of course I didn’t grow up watching Magic, but I did see his highlights and game tapes and the just amazed me. He is one of the most talented basketball players that I have ever seen, and the fact that someone can put this mans talent into a beautiful poem is a concrete example of how everyone and everything can be connected by spoken or written word.

  32. He was called “Magic” for a reason. The way he moved up and down the court seamlessly gave him a mystical quality, like we were watching a story being old in real time. Just as he was smooth, Quincy Troupe with his fluid inner city stylings is a perfect combination accompanied with “Magic’s” style of playing. It also is written in slang meaning it is better recognized by the target audience. The inner city kids who watch basketball.

  33. I love Jones’ rhythm. It reminds me a little bit of Allen Ginsberg, but with more of a Harlem, inner-city style. Really inspires me to speak more fluidly. His choice of words perfectly describe Magic’s movement on the court, even down to the sounds of the words themselves.

  34. Quincy Troupe’s poems are so descriptive talk about life in a passionate way that makes them interesting. I like this poem not only describing Magic Johnson but also motivating the reader to follow their dreams and push forward in life.

  35. After listened to the video and read the poem, i preffer to read it than to watch the video. I love basketball and the poem make a lot of sense to me. I like how Troupe structured his poem where it started slow then fast and intense when Magic Johnson making a score.

  36. I really like this poem because the poet wrote it in a way that makes it fun for the reader. It is hard for me to unerstand and connect with poetry at times, but this poem makes me feel a connection, i truely makes me feel like i am watching Magic Johnson play bascketball. Not only that but Quincy Troop has a fun and unique style when he reads it.

  37. This poem, by far, was my favorite because I’m a huge basketball fan. I really liked how the video was upbeat and joyful it went very well with the video. The poem was also very descriptive and vivid itself.

  38. Beautiful! As I closed my eyes and listened to the voice of Quincy Troupe, I was transported to Magic’s play ground. More than just watching him play, but it was as though I was experiencing “Magic” play the game, standing on the very court he was dominating.

  39. The rhythm and tempo of the poem fluctuate as a representation of the basketball player in the game starting off slow and increasing speed and momentum. I love the timing and visualizations that Quincy Troop uses.

  40. These are the type of poems I love to read and listen to! It is pretty up beat and has a fun type of environment. Quincy Troupe knows how to be creative and handle his audience very well! Super cool that he wanted to start off slow and then speed up the rhythm to go along with the basket ball game.

  41. I like Quincy Troupe’s style of writing. It’s so vivid and you can imagine everything he is saying with the use of description in his poetry. Everything is detailed and meaningful in his tribute to Magic Johnson with this poem.

  42. Troupe’s writing style is very realistic and allows readers to relate and believe in what he has to say. I really enjoyed this poem because I enjoy the sport of basketball and the poem definitely described Magic Johnson purely.

    • I enjoyed both the video and the poem. They blended so well together. Both captured the true essence of Magic Johnson and the hard work he put in to become something beyond great. The moves he displayed in the video shows a lot of the origins of the moves today’s players demonstrate. He is a true original.

  43. I really liked this video. Especially because I am a Lakers fan. Magic Johnson is one of the greatest players to play on the team. I liked the beat and rhymes! I can feel what he talks about because I am a basketball player myself.

  44. This beat and lyrics go perfectly with Magic Johnsons highlight clips. The beat is very old school hip hop and traditional, keeping the times of Johnson alive in the video. I enjoy hip hop and enjoyed the music and the lyrics in the poem.

  45. This poem was very detail to me and understood everything that was said. It really made me think about what he was really saying. it was very entertaining as well.

  46. I love how Quincy troupe poems. Every words he is using seems alive to me. I always thought poem is full of metaphors and words that are supposed to be complicated, so poem was not my friend. But thanks to Quincy, I have more understanding about poem and I can enjoy more reading poem.

  47. The words that troup uses are so amazing. being a basketbal player i could relate so much to all the words and really feel what he was talking about.

  48. I love Quincy Troupe’s poems. He makes all the words come alive

  49. This poem by Quincy Troupe is magnificent. He is very descriptive that I was able to have vivid images in my head. Not only was it very vivid but I was also able to feel how passionate Magic Johnson is about basketball. I would have honestly loved it if I was at RCC at the time when Quincy Troupe came for a day.

  50. I confess that I am not a fan Basketball, but the style that Quincy Troupe employs in his poetry makes me want to read even this poem title, “Magic”, in honor of the great basketball legend.

  51. Quincy Troupe is a genius when it comes to poems. He gives life to words, and puts great vivid images into the readers head. I liked this poem a lot, but i liked the Rivertown Packin House Blues better.

  52. This poem captivated my imagination as Quincy Troupe read the words I could envision Magic on the floorboards with the Lakers and the crowd cheering. I liked how it was written but more so how it was spoken. What a great poem to read and motivate young people in sports to read poetry.

  53. This man, Quincy Troupe, not only is an excellent poet but also a great orator. When Troupe speaks he really gives life to the words that come out his mouth. The range of voice that Troupe possesses is quite impressive. However, I like better his other poem title, “River Town Pakin House Blues”.

  54. Quincy Troupe really has a gift if he is able to capture Magic Johnson’s movements on the court and put them into a poem, and make it so clear how remarkable of a player he really is. There is no one like him.

  55. I love the way Quincy Troupe writes his poems! I love all the imagery it has and the style he writes his poems. He makes poetry fun.

  56. magic johnson by quincey troupe what a great poem that captures your feelings and truly gives you what you’d expect when you read one of his poems.

  57. I’ve never been a real big basketball fan, but this poem clearly shows the interest of the sport and well as its players. Magic johnson was an amazing player in the sport of basketball and Troupe makes me remember watching the game. i remember the experience of watching a bored crowd become more and more energetic.

  58. I love this poem due to the rhythm and imagery displayed in his words. Being an athlete it is also easy for me to relate to this poem on a different level as well.

  59. I love how Quincy Troupe uses his own ways of writing poems. I was inspired by what he said such as, poem is a language. I think he is right because poem is a language that a person have to learn in order to write a meaningful poems.

  60. This poem speaks volumes about the sport i love the most the way Troop took the time to use his are of writing and presenting to make basketball, the sport, to really sound like an artful game. I appreciate his tribute to Magic Johnson the delivery of everything and the development made me feel like I was at a game for my self.

  61. While reading the poem I can almost physically see Magic Johnson dribble the ball down the court and score. Watching his highlights once again made it that much more interesting. Magic was one of the greatest players ever to play the game and i think that Troop did a wonderful job in writing this poem about him.

  62. When we watched the video on Troupe in class the other day I was inspired by him. The way he uses his own language in his poems makes them more down to earth and easier to understand. This poem takes you back in time to Magic’s prime.

  63. Quincy Troupe really is unlike any other poet i have ever heard before. He has the unique ability to connect with his audience. The slang he uses just brings him to a level where everybody can understand and relate. You can sense the passion behind his poems and it makes them really enjoyable to read.

  64. After i read this poem i didn’t even know that it was a poem but i liked how it seemed to flow with a rythm and you counldn’t even really tell. I like the authors poise and passion for writing and it inspired me to look into writimg poetry.

  65. Quincy Troupe was a real down to earth poet. My favorite part of this poem is when he used slang phrase “you am”. It makes the poem a lot more relatable to the reader and establishes a sense of connection from the poet to the readers.

  66. I love this poem because of the imagery and style. Now you know why Quincy Troupe was so popular with students when he came to RCC to read his poetry. People can relate to Troupe’s writing because he is “real” and “believable.”

  67. This poem was very captivating and intense. I felt the passion as he was speaking and it moved me. I am a basketball player myself and I have heard plenty of poems about the sport itself. I have never heard one like this before. It actually kept me on my toes and I never wanted it to end. I think any basketball player can relate to this and would love this because he not only describes Magic Johnson so purely but he also speaks in the tone of the game. Slow in the beginning, but rapidly speeds up!

  68. Pingback: Poetry | | http://www.jankollitz.comhttp://www.jankollitz.com

Leave a Reply