The Body Exquisite: Melba Joyce Boyd

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Melba Joyce Boyd

Dancing Is Flying

Jackie Hilsman (1936-2002)

 

Dancing is flying,

dancing is flying

on top of your father’s

swing-tipped steps,

lifting you

unto riffs

Ellington’s

winged

symphonics.

 

 

Dancing is flying,

dancing is flying

with a pistol

in your purse

tight to the hip

behind the

steel door

of your studio

where bare feet

reach for cusps

of hope

deleting despair,

greeting art

liberating air

empowered by sheer

black leotards

bodies leaping

higher than tragic

reflex spawned

like trash thrown

from distorted

grimaces of

pale masks.

 

 

Dancing is flying,

dancing is flying

in experimental

movements above

submissive sterility

and a society

of gravity

and disease

that crippled

your leg

but could not

break the swing

of your winged

steps dancing,

is flying,

is dancing

is flying

is dancing

is flying

is

dancing

is

flying

is

dancing

is

Dancing Is FlyingMelba Joyce Boyd
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Melba Joyce Boyd, Distinguished University Professor and Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Wayne State University, is an award-winning author or editor of 13 books and over 100 essays on African American literature, film and culture. Nine of her books are poetry; her poetry collection, Death Dance of a Butterfly, received the 2013 Library of Michigan Notable Books Award for Poetry.