Bailando Soul

​                          for Sonia
after Willie Perdomo’s Smoking Lovely, The Remix

While others toke smoke, inhale suspicions,
tighten the rusted chokehold, we 

bailando lovely:
my mama's watusi to your papi's merengue,

hip sway and boogaloo breakdown on a salsa 
floor slicked with lube, littered with condoms used.

Corazón a corazón, intertwined in dance,
mi alma in the palm of your hands,

you stroke it with poems y brisas de la Isla 
where I have never been though

I am named after palm trees, sway 
in my dreams, a mariposa melting on the wind.

This black/brown, brown/black bachata swirl called “us” 
only works in our dreams where we kiss, dismiss

the different tongues between us, 
remove the crosses from our necks, our backs,

remove thorns from our eyes, surmise a time, 
long before mercenary crusaders and invaders, long, 

long ago when we were one rhythm, one note 
never lost in translation, always found in song.

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Tamara J. Madison
Tamara J. Madison is the author of Threed, This Road Not Damascus (Trio House Press); Kentucky Curdled and Sistuh’s Sermon on the Mount (all poetry), and Collard County (fiction). Her writing is inspired by her ancestry and relations. She is the creator and host of BREAKDOWN: The Poet & The Poems, a YouTube poetry conversation series, promoting poets and their poetry as inspiration for everyday life. She is an MFA graduate of New England College and an Anaphora Arts Fellow (2021). She currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. 

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