You, Dancing In Paris
for Josephine Baker
Today after I saw you dance, I melted
into the opulence of your aura--
arcing legs, bonfire thighs, torso.
I could taste the hottest butter.
Other Eyes eclipsed, too. In that
movie clip, you were the She-Wolf.
It's the La Revue Nègre in Paris.
And the truth be told, you didn't need
a jungle set, cobra vines, conga beats.
You were Turbulence. It's1927.
But I confess. When the film ended,
you were still dancing. You said,
Draw the Shades. Let me tell you,
I smelt the Arpège. Would you tuck
me in, kiss me goodnight, or tickle
me with a palm-leaf? When I dialed
my best friend you said “Bonjour,"
to prove you were in my room. I'd
have a story to tell. Mouth open,
my pal finally hung up. He raced
outside, pass the courtyard of gravel
and jasmine, boarded the trolley, barely
looked at the Arc de Triomphe. After
he banged his knuckles on my front
door, I let him in. Josephine's glow
embroidered the space. She sang,
J'ai Deux Amours (I Have Two Loves).
Then we all danced in the dark like it
was 1927, and the year didn't matter.
Isaac Black (an MFA graduate of Vermont College), has published in journals like the Beloit Poetry Journal, Callaloo, Poetry Quarterly, and Red River Review. Founder of a major 501(c) college help organization, he's also the recipient of fellowships from the New York State Creative Artists Service Program (CAPS) and New York Foundation of the Arts. Isaac's the author of the African American Student's College Guide (John Wiley & Sons). His first poetry collection, Hourglass, is looking for a publisher.