AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive
John Grayson Kincaid~ 555th
Yesterday I gave a poetry reading at the Karpeles Manuscript Library in Santa Barbara as a guest of The Poetry Zone. I prepared the reading in tribute to my father, John Grayson Kincaid, Jr. in honor of the tenth year since his passing on April 3, 1993. My husband, Rod. prepared several of my old family photos for my presentation. The attached photograph was actually taken from a memory page that my cousin, Quentin, put together.
My dad was on active duty in the Army for 23 years. He worked as a civilian employee of the Army for another seven years and became fully retired at thirty-years. During most of his active duty years, he was a assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and was often stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC. His brothers and brother-in-laws were military men and many of their offspring have, likewise, served in the military.
My father particularly identified with his army unit, the 555th, an all-black unit during the years before Truman desegregated the armed forces. The Triple Nickels, as they are called, have remained bonded throughout the years and have a strong national organization similar to the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.
At the reading, I talked about my father and some of the men in my family. I read poems related to them and the context in which they lived their lives. I read poems about war and peace, family life and southern history.
I did not read the following poem yesterday but I did read it at the
A Space Where A Poem Ought Be
I've known of missing poems before
poems that speak from the realm of the soul
a father's unrenderable gaze
absent from the family photograph
a hole where a heart once lay
cached between bone and muscle
hurt where a friendship one was
its demise never anticipated
space where a leg ought be
the missing limb but bits of flesh femur blood
nothing where something out be
it is said that to which the missing was adjoined
one sees the shining knee -
there is emptiness - longing
Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
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