I got a few debts to pay

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While men shot men
I shot hoops.
They bruised the ladies;
I beat up the backboard.
When life turned grey and the money dried out
Pa and Ma dribbled beer in their hands;

Baby Johnny in between.

The neighborhood boys calloused the streets.
On the sidelines I watched them play this game called life;
Basketball was a better game for me.
In the bleachers they watched me, tossing smoke in the air like layups.
On Sundays, I worshipped the hoop on McAnderson road.

With every rebound bounced back chance.
Crossover, fake ‘em out;
Jump, shoot, score!

My brother Johnny went to school; there were those he called friends.

Then one day, I shot hoops at the pros.
in the land of hoops.
The land of hope,
where seas of heads danced vibrantly on the bleachers,
where I learned to play life on the basketball court.

Johnny likes to play in the streets at night

How I found my way beside the hoop on McAnderson road--
The land of hope has taught me too;
The same men shooting fouls with crumbling cigars.
That same hoop of hope: frayed netting; bruised backboard.
My brother Johnny learned to dribble a beer in his hand.

I got a few debts to pay






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