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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
Sadaako Peace Garden during an event on August 6, 2003 commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagakaki. It is the poem I wrote for Afrigeneas but hasn't been published here yet.

A Space Where A Poem Ought Be

I've known of missing poems before
poems stronger than the suppressing hand
poems more powerful than the invisibility

poems that speak from the realm of the soul
from the place that needs no facade
the place unpalpable where the poem touches

a father's unrenderable gaze

absent from the family photograph
frozen in clenched smile abstraction
hovering somewhere near the unfathomable

a hole where a heart once lay

cached between bone and muscle
a conduit for that which makes life livable
its beat but an echo its rhythm but a spasm of memory

hurt where a friendship one was

its demise never anticipated
its loss never contemplated
it measure infinite

space where a leg ought be

the missing limb but bits of flesh femur blood
soft shrapnel on a once abandoned war ground
the mined soil holding secret its maiming terror

nothing where something out be

it is said that to which the missing was adjoined
the left behind
mourns its disattached

one sees the shining knee -
the favored other

there is emptiness - longing
grief is spoken
and desire

Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

Messages In This Thread

John Grayson Kincaid~ 555th
Re: John Grayson Kincaid~ 555th

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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