Reginald Harris

Ken Norton as ‘Mandingo’

They want me for my body
and my name – the guy who
busted Ali’s jaw, in his first film! –
Just to sell some tickets. Just like
boxing, just as fixed.
I’m no actor, not the star.
They named the movie after
my guy, but didn’t give me much
to say.
The old slave fighters
visit me, Molineaux
and others, whisper
behind the arc lights Do us
. This whole thing seems
strange to them: the shackles
quick-release, masters’ whips
that crack an inch above our backs.
White men saying,
Come, Go, Stand
Here, Move There.
Molineaux: Tom Molineaux (1784-1818), a former slave given his freedom due to his boxing ability,
he fought the British heavyweight champion in 1810 and 1811.

Reginald Harris
Ken Norton as ‘Mandingo’ first appeared in Segue, Issue 2, #2.