If you ain’t never watched your parents kiss ain’t neva have them teach you ‘bout the way the lips will to bend and curve against a lover’s affirmation If you ain’t never watched the knowing nod of sweethearts worn away and soft as a speaker box’s blown out hiss If you ain’t never witnessed the glue that connected your mother and father -- how they fused their single selves into the blunt fist of parents If you ain’t sure there was a time when their eyes held each other like a nexus, only breaking the lock to dip dark marbles into the certain corners of a shot glass If you ain’t never known a Saturday night slick with shiny promises and clouds wrapped wet in a Pendegrass croon If you ain’t never learned how to let a man hold you close so close …it looks like a crawl If you ain’t had the memory of your mother and father sliding hip to hip. Their feet whisper a slow shuffle and shift. Her hand on his neck, grip his shoulder, urgent, while Aretha shames her -- stealing woman secrets -- to a man that will pass his daughters a bad temper with hands like bowls. If you ain’t never watched a man lean into a woman His eyes a boat sliding across bronze freckles His hands pillared in her auburn hair Her throat clenches, holds the urge to hear how her voice sound against the wind of him If your skin ain’t never fathom the heat of something as primal and necessary as this… Then you know not how the hurricane of two bodies can create the prospect of a name, how the name sound like: a blues song; a woman’s heart breaking; a promised sunrise From the record player skipping the sky looks blue
Mahogany Browne, host and curator of the Friday Night Slam Series at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, is a Cave Canem Fellow who facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country. She is the editor of His Rib: Stories, Poems & Essays by HER and author of Destroy Rebuild & Other Reconstructions of the Human Muscle and Swag. She has released five LPs, including the live album, Sheroshima.