ISAAC MURPHY: I DEDICATE THIS RIDE
poems by Frank X Walker
Old Cove Press is pleased to announce the release of Frank X Walker's latest book, Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride. In these poems, Frank X Walker immerses himself in the story of legendary African-American jockey Isaac Murphy (1861-1896).
The son of a slave, Murphy rose to the top of thoroughbred racing in a brilliant career that brought him wealth and fame. In Murphy’s time, thoroughbred racing was dominated by African-American jockeys.
In the poems imagined/spoken here by Frank X Walker we hear the voices of Murphy and his wife Lucy, his trainer Eli Jordan, and his parents James and America Burns. The poems shine a light on the life of America’s most celebrated black jockey, his family and community, and the historical canvas on which his extraordinary life played out.
We welcome you to enjoy the title poem, I Dedicate This Ride, by Frank X Walker, reprinted below.
Author: Frank X Walker
ISBN 10: 0-9675424-3-X
ISBN 13: 978-0-9675424-3-0
Copyright Date: 2010
Publication Date: September 2010
Binding: Smyth-Sewn Paperback
I Dedicate This Ride
When I come barreling down the stretch,
I always think about my daddy, James Burns,
a runaway slave turned soldier.
At the start of every race I pretend
he's in the crowd, standing at attention,
watching me ride for the first time,
his brass belt buckle gleaming
like his proud mouth.
I tell myself I don't dare lose
that this race is for the Union,
for all ex-slaves who joined up,
who stole away with their families.
They taught us about sacrifice,
dug trenches, carried supplies
and ate a whole lot of rebel bullets
just so they could keep the freedom
they hungered so much for.
Just so their children could dream.
So I could ride horses and enjoy true quiet
and these visits with him
in the middle of all this noise.
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