Bessie Smith - Powder Dancing On 3rd Street, Chattanooga (circa 1971)
Already the river begins its sweat.
April to September I'll be on the porch
Come sunsets listening to cars in the
Dark and you, remembering the flour
On the floor** and me and Willie in
Stocking feet dancing till dawn,
An old man down the street come
To drink on my porch sometime.
You were singing one night
While we drank and he just
Had to dance and pulled me,
Reluctant, skinny ass kid
All over the floor that night.
But my feet did dance.
And the flour stayed down
The whole summer long.
[**In the Jim Crow South
in juke joints for blacks
sometimes powder or
wheat flour would be strewn
on dance floors and couples
would dance silkenly gliding
barefoot or in socks..
To read more about this read
my account of it on poemhunters
titled, 'Now Heart - Some of
What I Remember When I Listen']
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