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by ntozake shange

where we come from, sometimes, beauty
floats around us like clouds
the way leaves rustle in the breeze
and cornbread   and barbecue swing out the backdoor
and tease all our senses as the sun goes down.

dreams and memories rest by fences
Texas accents rev up like our engines
customized sparkling   powerful as the arms
that hold us tightly black n   fragrant
reminding us   that once we slept and loved
to the scents of magnolia and frangipani
once   when we looked toward the skies
we could see something as lovely as our children's
smiles   white n glistenin'  clear of fear or shame
young girls in braids as precious as gold
find out that sex   is not just bein'   touched
but in the swing of their hips the light fallin cross
a softbrown cheek or the movement of a mere finger
to a   lip many lips inviting   kisses southern
and hip as any one lanky brother in the heat
of a laid back sunday rich as a big mama   still
in love with the idea of love   how we play at lovin'
even riskin' all common sense cause we are as fantastical
as any chimera or magical flowers where breasts entice
and disguise the racing pounding of our hearts
as the music that we are
hard core blues   low bass voices crooning
straight outta Compton   melodies so pretty
they nasty   cruising the Harbor Freeway
blowin' kisses to strangers who won't be for long
singing ourselves to ourselves Mamie Khalid Sharita
Bessie Jock Tookie MaiMai  Cosmic Man Mr. Man
Keemah and all the rest seriously courtin'
rappin'   a English we make up as we go along
turnin' nouns into verbs   braids into crowns
and always fetchin' dreams from a horizon
strewn with bones and flesh of those of us
who didn't make it   whose smiles and deep
dark eyes   help us to continue to see
there's so much life here.

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