Buttons don't turn as they should. Switches don't summon
the pleasures they used to make manifest, like the heat.
Cars rattle and move along like the ancient things metal
becomes when it is turned into machines from its nameless
resting in the dirt. It has been a long and hard rehearsal,
and I have probably done something you don't appreciate,
so I let you talk about the old music. Demeanors were
more precise in the days when groups like the Dells,
the Temptations, the Four Tops, and the Doves
came out of the cold cement of poor streets to sing.
Their songs are used in commercials for fast food
and in big chill movies where people dance akimbo.
Memories of back doors blowing air into basements
with Mary Wells and black folk wearing long leathers
back when bruthas shined their shoes like mirrors to be
"the one." Memories like the way we used to bop before
the young boys declared war with hiphop, trying to be /
long after the harmony of moons shining above.
In this, your old BMW, all we have is the croon
of days when we could beat back the ungodly.
Dipped in the BrownTown rhyming lyrics and chords
of cool, we moved along in any space feeling the tightening
and the letting go of ourselves as cats do, cats who know
why black men are called cats, how we rise from the earth
with feet that spring when we step--doo wop doo wop!
Michael S. Weaver's fifth book of poems is Timber & Prayer. His forthcoming poetry volume is Talisman, and his new play is Candy Lips & Hallelujah. His short fiction is included in Gloria Naylor's Children of the Night. Choice magazine has described Weaver as one of the most important poets of his generation.
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|Author:||Weaver, Michael S.|
|Publication:||African American Review|
|Date:||Mar 22, 1997|
|Next Article:||The poets.|