Twenty Two

Hip-Hop Ghazal
         --- Patricia Smith

Gotta love us brown girls, munching on fat, swinging blue hips, 
decked out in shells and splashes, Lawdie, bringing them woo hips. 

As the jukebox teases, watch my sistas throat the heartbreak, 
inhaling bassline, cracking backbone and singing thru hips. 

Like something boneless, we glide silent, seeping 'tween floorboards, 
wrapping around the hims, and ooh wee, clinging like glue hips. 

Engines grinding, rotating, smokin', gotta pull back some. 
Natural minds are lost at the mere sight of ringing true hips. 

Gotta love us girls, just struttin' down Manhattan streets 
killing the menfolk with a dose of that stinging view. Hips. 

Crying 'bout getting old—Patricia, you need to get up off 
what God gave you. Say a prayer and start slinging. Cue hips.

Early 80s Guera Dance Ghazal

Coming of age in Mexico City clubs, guera girl gang, we danced 
the one-two step-n-hop back and forth disco dance.

En el club, bailábamos como chicas fresas, swinging
arms in the air, singing along to Lipps, Inc, virgin dance.

Donna Summer, KC & The Sunshine Band, Leo Sayer, the
Bee Gees, Prince, Kool & The Gang. Dance! Dance! Dance!

Swaying in glitter ball fog, on the edge of 18, we lingered
loose in untested bodies, smiled, invited the mating dance.

Cerveza, tequila, cuba libre -- torched our blood -- "Baby
you can ring my bell..." we sang to each other, swirled, danced.

Jordache jeans skintight; sweatshirts cut off our shoulders; big hair;
Candy spike heels breaking our balls; we bit the pain, grinned, danced.

Glowing faces in the crowd ... cherry petals in blacklight air. "I just want
your extra time and your kiss," we yelled back and forth as we danced.

"We are family," we shouted to the smoky ceilings. Then drove
the City like pinballs through a machine, the metropolitan dance.

Oh, yeah, we were wild and free and rich. We were young and dumb.
We wore our privilege like our American skins. Andale! We danced.

Most of us had no moves. (Laurie, you had zero moves.) Our futures
waited in the States. We broke curfew, laughed like maniacs, danced.

Suggested soundtrack: club music from your high school years.