Monday, April 16, 2007

Look What Gwyn Wrote!

Not that it's surprising--Gwyn and writing kind of go together. But I felt this the moment I read it.
Side Step
I remember being eleven and doing steps in front
of the four-story tenement we called home
sophisticated lady—you know that’s me
spelling Mississippi
and saying ooo-chie-wally-wally
long before nas and the bravehearts made it a hook
I remember older black women looking at us
and shaking their heads as we battled the girls around the corner
to see who could pop that coochie and twist like this
I remember pumping with all my might
and not really knowing what I was pumping
but most of all
I remember what it felt like to be with my girls
as we each took our turn in the circle
giving off more attitude than anyone under fifteen had a right to
and knowing that we were the baddest girls out there
because we deemed it so
we said things little girls shouldn’t even know
but when I remember how we were when outside
and what it was like to be one with them
and how later we’d jump double-dutch
or skate around the block
I think of how innocent we all were even as we chanted
“my man made me do it, he really, really, really . . . got on down”
slapping our hands and stomping our feet in unison
we must have felt invincible
and all of our steps occurred in the dawn
before we learned that black women’s sexuality
should be concealed
lest it be used against her in the court of public opinion
itself steeped in legacies and histories of lies
when I remember what it felt like to be so free
from cloaked and hidden sexualities
it amazes me that girlhood games gave it to me
and I hold on to it now as I smile at kim, foxy, trina, and khai
maybe they took the side step and remembered what we all forgot
I wonder if I can reclaim some of that innocent
yet brazen and brave little black girl back


Professor Zero said...

Exactly what I needed to read today!
And I didn't know this writer - I mean, it was a name which rang a bell, but I didn't know for what. I will have to actually read her.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

Thanks for posting, Elle. :-)

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving feedback, Professor Zero!

You all just made my dreary, snow-filled Monday.


Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...