Cadillac Records

life is a stacatto note

trapped in the throat of Etta James

Bluesy and Uncertain

There was a stench in the air

stale lovers and warm gin

drunk off unrequited passion

long enough to forget

hungry children and post partum

Jim Crow washes the dishes

Our mothers boil their pride on the stove

Like most women

Remnants of her dreams

are spelled out

In the flour prints on her apron 

She once told me

Of a woman who spoke only

Vagina monologues and dollar signs

Shiny thighs and donation signs

My soft spoken mother

told this human compost

This maneater

Lady of the night

You can’t pawn your womanhood

Miss I’m not sure if anyone told you

With a pricetag dangling from your pussy

You are owned by its consumer

A cigarette dangles from her curves

Her legs reach miles past her heart

Buckling beneath her defiance

She arrogantly replied

None of us are strangers to bartering

They loaned us self respect on credit

We make monthly deposits of inferiority

Hustle backwards in order to find ourselves

Being black aint free

In the meantime,

We exist as fragments

Purposefully abandoned in our ignorance

Because the educated man knows

division does not equal profit

You cant talk arithmetic to sharecroppers 

You can’t pretend to preach progress post reconstruction

To a generation of broken china

Scattered in the attics of our ancestors

Vibrance peeking through the dust

The blues hit us hard this year

We still praying

Still tryna keep our young boys alive

So they can one day fear their own skin 

And be revered and hated in the same breath

It’s 1965

We still survivin’

God Willing.


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