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The doves.

On the dashboard there is a panel of disappointment.

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
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