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Curling tendrils of tobacco haze
engulf the tiny space, hang like
ringlets over shots of whiskey
and mugs of warm beer. A solitary
dancer moves, bracelets janglin’
and eyes heavy with kohl, captures
old men in mid drink as her hips
sway to Nina Simone. Her bronze skin
glistens with the hot stares of the
audience; she soaks it in, twirls on
bare feet in perfect time as the
high priestess of soul bewitches
us with heavy grooves. I close
my eyes, tap fingers against glass,
whisper Nina’s words into the smoke
and breathe them back in again.
This is jazz, I think out loud,
this is pure unadulterated heat.
marianne Oct 2018
born into an ethic of separate
and apart, knows nothing of the promise of oneness
and the slow release of held breath when I glimpse
that I’m not.

my foremothers in the summer kitchen, preserving
(1 part berries : 1 part sugar, splash of lemon)
lived the kinship of shovel sun soil hands
jam on buttered bread.

heads bowed under kerchief, shushing children, devoted
(1 part fervour : 1 part obedience, splash of sorrow)
sang the hymns of their mothers on hard benches in one voice,
one breath.

but the air is made of argon too, and contains
the breath of all others, the ones not on hard benches, or making jam
no lines in the sand made of belief or blood
not them, just us.

today with my own shovel, sifting through roots and buds
(1 part rage : 1 part faith, splash of sorrow)
I sing “Ain’t got no, I got life” at full volume with Nina, two voices
same breath.
Here is the awesome Nina Simone song I mention:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5jI9I03q8E&t=0s&list=PLkbO-DIg2u3X0gIUVKrjY4mV7YRg9rJCL&index=24

— The End —