Roy Bentley

Roy Bentley has won a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as individual artist fellowships from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the Ohio Arts Council. He has published four full-length books: Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama), Any One Man (Bottom Dog Press), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine Press), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House Press)—as well as a chapbook from “Magnificent Strangers” in Mudlark: An Electronic Journal of Poetry & Poetics.


Sugar Ray Robinson Leaning against His 1950 Pink Cadillac

The king, the master, my idol.
—Muhammad Ali

So what if he’s walking off killing Jimmy Doyle
in The Cleveland Arena after telling everyone that
he’d had this dream in which he killed Jimmy Doyle.
Never mind the routine loneliness. Years of roadwork.
This is one man the Mob couldn’t buy and wouldn’t kill.
Never mind that he was discharged from the U.S. Army
under mysterious circumstances after saying that he fell

down some stairs and woke, later, loopy with amnesia.
His cockleshell-pink Cadillac sits curbside in Harlem.
New Year’s Day, winter weather far from apocryphal,
Ray has put the top down for the Life photographer.
His delight at life is in a glint of light coming off
the car, the light of New York City, a single-kiss
collective glow of promises made and broken.

Sugar Ray is looking fine in a brown suit jacket.
The one true champ kids in Harlem know by sight.
Here comes a sweep of sun to assert the start of a war
between reliance on God and trusting in the archetypal
clenched fist. Light is coming up from the car’s fender,
falling on the face of one who has killed with a left hook
that knocked his opponent rigid, a sportswriter said later.

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