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Tinker

Kobe

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Tinker

Kobe

Even
the uninitiated
know of whom I speak.
He called himself
the Black Mamba,
emulating the focus
of the venomous reptile
with his smooth stride
and deadly strike.

But most of us just chant,
Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!
His intellect,
talent and ability
drew gasps and praise.
Five time NBA Champion,
two time Olympic Champion,
Master of the hard court,
this basketball legend
continued his quest
for excellence
beyond the sport.

Writer, producer,
father,
he championed girls
who dared to dream.

January 26, 2020
at the age of 41,
he left this world
to accompany
his young daughter
Gianna,
to the other side.

His legacy summed up with his name.
Kobe!
Mamba Out!
                                                       ~~Judi Van Gorder


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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misterpoet

you do know there were 8 people altogether that died in the helicopter crash...

are 6 of their lives not important enough???

 

all I hear is kobe and his daughter.

what about the other little girl and the parents of her and the other victims???


misterpoet

 

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Tinker

Of course John, if I were writing about the crash I would include all who perished.  I wasn't writing about the crash, I am a basketball fan, an LA Laker fan, a Kobe Bryant fan. I probably have watched every professional game Kobe has ever played either on TV or in person at a game.  I have the NBA League Pass because of the Lakers.  I have written other poems about the LA Lakers and named players, depending on the happenings of the time.    Kobe wasn't just a name to me.  News of his death brought tears.  I not only saw the breaking news shortly after it happened but I  had at least 5 sympathy calls from friends and family that same day and a couple of texts. When they heard the news they thought of me. 

I actually made a point of reading all of the names of those who perished which were not released right away, I had to wait and watch for it.   I was concerned about the pilot because I know the parents of a helicopter pilot who flies celebrities for a living in LA.   I was looking for his name, gratefully, he was not the pilot.  The tragedy saddens me, the loss of life, whether young or old is always a moment to take pause.   

Kobe was not flawless, but his work ethic, his tenacity, his talent touched me and brought me many hours of excitement and joy.  Through the media and through my own granddaughter's sports connection, I have been aware of Kobe's daughters and his involvement with them.  Allexa has played against his oldest daughter.  

My poem is about a young man I admired who was just killed tragically along with his young daughter and 7others of whom I know nothing. I shouldn't have to defend that.  

~~Judi


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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eclipse

great tribute-one of your best in my opinion..

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A. Baez

Judi, this is so well put together and the flow is so smooth that it conjures a star basketball player glibly moving around the court with the ball. You've built the drama in a skilled, well-paced way, which is not easy to do in a poem like this that covers a whole life as well as people's reactions to it. The line breaks all seem to fall in just the right places, which also is not something that most people nail from beginning to end in a short-lined free form like this.

I don't follow sports at all and know nothing about Kobe beyond what I read in a recent newsclip, yet this poem really captured me. From the very first sentence, you create the air of a storyteller recounting a heroic myth to awed listeners huddled around a campfire. The second stanza's intro gives me a strong image of bleachers full of fans standing up screaming--I love the immediacy. It's a bit funny, too, and the warmth of your feelings is palpable, especially here but also throughout. While the life details read rather like a news memorial tribute, on the positive side everything you say is concise, feels relevant, and fills me with a sense of appreciation for this man. The form is also striking, evoking for me that of a mamba. What a great ending, too--one "out" echoing another echoing another!

I'm sorry for your loss as a fan and as someone who had personal connections to Kobe.

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tonyv

Judi, excellent application and use of centering in this elegy. After reading the poem and looking at its shape on the screen, I could see the human shape; it looks like one of those tall African carved wooden statues. Very cleverly presented.

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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A. Baez

Tony, that's an interesting take, too! I was thinking mamba, but yes, the shape also does look like one of those totemic African statues--or maybe a sports trophy!

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tonyv
15 minutes ago, A. Baez said:

--or maybe a sports trophy!

That, too! I hadn't considered that. I like it.

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Tinker

Thanks Tony and AB for recognizing the shape.  It wasn't intentional at first but when I completed the piece, I wondered if a tribute shouldn't sort of stand out on the page, like an announcement, so I centered it. Once centered it kind of reminded me of the Mamba so I was doubly pleased.  Now with Tony's assessment I see it and it is a tripled.

~~Judi


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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A. Baez

That was a really savvy instinct, and the layout did indeed remind me of an announcement. The centered format also evokes the single-pointed, deliberate focus of an athlete in action. Touché!

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