I revised "The Rough Side". Everyone say hello to "Thelma"
wrapped their arms
around a melody first,
cradled the song
against the softness
of their breasts,
infused the harmony
with the rhythm
of their heartbeats,
nurtured a verse
like a newborn child,
then ripped that song open
on its way past tongue and teeth,
exposed its truth in the open air,
so only the blood of the music was left
dripping in affected ears.
Too many of her daughters
injected, snorted, or swallowed
a new truth for themselves
and for their children; almost all of them,
now, as silent as shadows trembling
under tapping toes that struggle
to keep time.