The Lyrics of Despair

By Ross, Linwood M. | African American Review, Winter 1993 | Go to article overview

The Lyrics of Despair


Ross, Linwood M., African American Review


You stand in white light. The rhinestones dripping like a million tears from your dress. A lavender gardenia in your jetblack hair. Your eyes like so many wet grapes. You open the red gash in your face to bleed . . . the lyrics of your despair because you know where its mother fives. & you conjure up the voodoo it takes to perform a song that knows no other color but blue. You stand like an antenna in the wind with a cool breeze singing in your veins. Your mind's cinema remembering strange fruit. All the long bus rides . . . the sly indignities. The bold-faced abuses a commonplace in F.D.R.'s & Truman's & Ike's America. & you've known that stinging taste of bitterness. The backdoor entrances. The bad-breath alleys. Smelled the stench of small-minded towns. Your head is now a Rand McNally of racist cities. But you stand there. Your tears threatening to extinguish the torch song in your throat. With the music traveling thru you . . . like a spirit That does not haunt gently about yoursoul. & Oh! The Applause! Bravo! The Applause! You leave them always wanting more. Their hands reaching, pulling at fragile pieces of you. When all you want to do is try to stay intact. …

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