Issue #54


Bumble-Honey Shoes

the time is 1964

right on the dot

as a girl walks into

her mother’s closet

lips tight an’ taught

fingers tracin’ old blouses

dust bitten fraught

an’ tight sin-spinned skirts

dim in the

wardrobe’s lucent

searchin’ hot

for bumble-honey shoes

she’s seen ‘em before

in a crystal cubed container

heels ebony

tips white

humble bee wings

aflutter on each side

gossamer yellow sheen

circular in make

movin’ fleetin’ faster

than the eye can see

soon enough

she finds them pumps

hidden far far away

takin’ the top off

to blow out

time’s decay

graspin’ those shoes

wishin’ to fly fly astray

to run from color coded water

fountains an’

dirty looks on white lined streets

down upon 6th avenue

crossed taylor road

the only black block in town

crooning supremes

‘baby love

how i need you’

until she ain’t wanna

hear no more

just as she touches those shoes

the world spins crazy

an’ the closet’s gone

blurred all hazy

there’s shoes on her feet

squeezed stiff an’ a’ bruisin’

gusts of wintry wind

lickin’ her ankles

invitin’ her for a cruisin’

as she thinks: yes

her body begins to sting

like a hive too true to queue

pissed from smoke’s

offending zing

a bumble bee appears

small mellow

fat an’ striped black

cornbread yellow

mumble tumble an’ bumble

tellin’ her in hums

to follow an’

not linger

for too long

or she may not return

she blinks

an’ the world:

silent films an’ talkies

inklike an’ ivory

shoes à la mode

in this bleak of the 1920’s

the humble bee guides her

over harlem renaissance an’

black kids in streets

sprinklers sprayin’ outta

red delicious fire hydrants

napped curls stuck to foreheads

adults on rickety chairs

chain smokin an’ grumblin’

about returnin’ to africa

an’ babble

of the

jezebel flappers

an’ jazz as stars begin to wink at ‘em

the girl wants ‘em to see

her dance as she spins

with them bumble honey shoes

right foot

left foot

a 1, 2 , 3


a hoppin’



in the boulevard clouds

remindin’ her of mom

as she left for work

blue bonnet on her head

resignation glazin’ her gaze

that bumbly bee on her nose lands

an’ away they go

shakily landin’

atop the Eiffel tower

she spots white ladies

in sailor hats an’ tulle

grinnin’ with clutches

around pearl clasped hands

men’s money

rattlin’ an’ ringin’

a jinglin’ in trench coat pockets

the girl is confused

she ain’t know this world

1940’s glee

far away from

6th avenue

crossed taylor road

the only black block in town

‘what did I do wrong

to make you stay away so long

'Cause baby love,

my baby love’

damn bee is a hummin’

bumbly an’ brushin’ her throat

noticin’ how far she is

from gold paved ground

an’ the moneyed world

she’s trespassin’

i wanna go home

she says

foldin’ in paper thin

there’s a titter in her ear

as she’s spun topsy turvy

wings ticklin’ lobes

bound tight feet

flyin’ off once more

to igboland

an’ sapped palm wine

women carryin’

straw laced baskets

bumpin’ hips

as water sloshes

heat kissed skin

to england bound

an’ slave ships

bordering harbors

shackles on necks

bodies worn beat

but examined

as the auctioneer impatiently

taps a foot

to barnum & baileys

of blacks in cages

an’ invited physicians


with novelty albino’s

it’s after

leapin’ off a pyramid

sand encapsulatin’ her

grainy golden

that she realizes she’s tired

eyes a closin’

that bumble bee seems to know

gently nudgin’ her head

draggin’ her

one last place

where there’s black girls

with straight hair

an’ kinked

heeled shoes


plum lipstick stained teeth

an’ white people not too far off

while they laugh


an’ don’t all fear

about what’s a comin’ tomorrow

except for the future

as she lands on stone steps

knockin’ on a door

dim in the

moon’s lucent

shoes loose an’ free

her mom comes outta the house

yellin’ and pullin’ her into her arms

smellin’ of greens an’ sweet tea

the only black block in town

crooning supremes

‘baby love

oh, how i need you

….in my arms why don't you stay?’

a sting in her ma’s embrace

numbin’ warm

until she ain’t wanna

let go

Poetry and Blood

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