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 Some Bright Elegance

 
…and all his words ran out of it: that there 
was some bright elegance the sad meat 
of the body made 
‘The Dance’, Amiri Baraka 
 
For the screwfaced in good shoes that paper 
the walls of dance halls, I have little patience.
I say dance not to be seen but free, your feet
are made for better things, feel the bitterness 
in your lift as it did for a six-year-old Bojangles
tapping a living out of beer garden patios to
the delight of a crowd that wasn’t lynching
today but laughing at the quickness of the kid. 
 
Throw yourself into the thick, emerging pure 
reduced to flesh and bone, nerve and sinew. 
Your folded arms understand music. Channel
a packed Savoy Ballroom and slide across 
the dusty floor as your zoot-suited, twenties 
self, the feather in your hat from an ostrich, 
the swagger in your step from the ochre dust
of a West African village. Dance for the times
 
you’ve been stalked by store detectives
for a lady on a bus, for the look of disgust 
on the face of a boy too young to understand 
why he hates but only that he must. Dance
for Sammy, dead and penniless, and for the
thousands still scraping a buck as street corner 
hoofers who, though they dance for their food,
move as if it is only them, and the drums, talking. 
 
Kayo Chingonyi 2011,

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