At The Renny

for Daddy

"Son, come dance with me
they playing jump up music"

And the mammoth woman would wear him out

dancing to those 15-minute songs
fueled, by that over Overproof firewater
they'd be drinking, and the need to stomp.

Not at the Savoy
where conkheaded hicks lindy-ed and bucked
for tourists fingering the edge of blank coins,

but at the Renny
where Don Wilson and his stalwarts
would lay down a hipspinning legtwirling rhythm

singing a West Indian muddled into Spanish
and these thickheavy women would
rise, from behind mounds

of fried chicken, bowls of rice 'n peas
warm pots of fragrant steaming greens,
up to meet the music's lust throated call,

and grab him, this thin man
and dance the life, strong, fierce
out of, into him.

c 1995 Akua Lezli Hope