photo by Alex Lear


A moment in a Mississippi juke joint:

  Wilma Mae looks at John L.


his slender eyes

and taut behind, bared arms

blackberry dark with grapefruit

sized biceps, but especially

the massive slope of his head

with broad textures like the benin

bronze she didn’t consciously know about

but subconsciously gravitated toward

and those teeth shiney like

lighthouses down on the gulf coast

flashing thourhg the ink of stormy night


wilma mae looked at his feet

and the go slow grind of his hips

keeping time to the juke box

& sucked her breath in slowly, she

would have taken a seat

except she was already sitting with

her thighs pressed tightly closed


just then john l. threw his head

back and sprayed the ceiling

with the mirth of his laughter

and casually did a little dip

on the off beat of the break

in  the undulating song


“god,” she thought, “that man

look like a tractor, & I feels like

a field what ain’t never been plowed…”


—kalamu ya salaam