Posted: Wednesday February 16, 2005 5:30PM; Updated: Wednesday February 16, 2005 5:30PM
The following is a selection of poems written by Duke guard J.J. Redick which he selected for publication on SI.com.
July 7, 2004
As I decide to fulfill my life's strategy The devil insists on trying to battle me I meet him in an empty field on the high plains He throws temptations my way to inflict internal pain Life and death matters, this ain't no game It's mind over matter, the power of my brain He thinks I'll give in if my muscles start to strain He believes I'll submit to the evil of society's frame And benefit from notoriety's gain He says I don't have to properly train and that he'll give me all the fame and everyone will know my name But I think he's insane 'Cause I know the truth- to gain is to give To have pain is to live So I call on my heavenly Father's name And slowly watch the thunder and rain subside I'm finally able to push the temptations aside I went blow for blow, I went face to face Now the devil knows, I'm able to escape Not by a back door or an alternate route I saw the middle high ground and I ran right through
July 15, 2004
No bandage can cover my scars It's hard living a life behind invisible bars Searching for the face of God I'm only inspired by the poems of Nas Because the truth has carved my life's patterns The reality of pain, and the joy of laughter My hopes and dreams shattered by the miscalculation of my own situation It's difficult to keep my nerves patient Facing the forecast of fears that none of my peers have ever been faced with I wanna reach the top floor, but I'm stuck in the basement With not enough juice to burst through the chains that have shackled my brain It seems my dreams have carried me to a separate peace apart from reality Society is allowing me to grow into the man I'm destined to become But how can I move when my entire skeleton is numb? Numb from the obstacles that I've been given Suddenly the bars connect to walls and I find myself contained inside life's prison
September 5, 2004
My life story is read in poetic stages I was once weak-minded, now I'm courageous The cause and effect of a thousand actions The mathematical breakdown of micro-fractions It's difficult to fathom the coming of the rapture What if I awoke in an empty pasture? Suddenly every ounce of passion had been depleted And all my determination had been defeated The rain pours, my tears fall The pain subsides, I stand in awe A lightning bolt strikes, I feel a sudden energy Thunder clouds approach, I can't run from destiny A tornado tears me down, but I will stand again My life is a hurricane, but I'll weather it to the end
October 2, 2004
Ten minutes pass without a notice Nine times in my life I've felt hopeless Eight friends I've lost on purpose Seven broken bones my skeleton felt were worthless Six days of work, but only one day of worship Five ways I feel pain, but that's only on the surface Four corners of the earth, all touched by God's churches Three sisters have influenced my poetic verses Two years that I completely lost focus One brother for which I wrote this Ten minutes pass without a notice
November 10, 2004
I can't see what my future has in store but I move forth with the strength of a condor The courage of a warrior The commitment of an American soldier Despite this weight on my shoulder my inner forces circulate to form a nucleus of an unbreakable bond These words describe the soundtrack to my life's song My mind and body united like the Colors of Benneton My destiny isn't told by the creases of my palm A sharp thorn once cut my soul The blood flowed But no bandage would cover the wound I couldn't help but stare at the distant moon Waiting for a resolution to come at an instant soon I asked the Lord, "What am I to do?" He said, "Son, I made the sky blue The rain falls because of me Leaves change colors on a fall tree I was the inspiration to Martin Luther King I'm the reason Ray Charles could sing I've changed others through and through And my son, I'll do the same to you"