surprisingly enough it aint the two to the
right or the two to the left that fucks
people up. it’s the spin. smooth swivel
instep turns morning dew into glitter.
trick is you gotta remember to always
end up counterclockwise from where you
started. mind which direction your big toe is
pointed. it’s all in the hips. all about how well
you snake through small gaps. Black movement
is navigation. the north star is usually whoever had
the loudest ayyyeee!! after the ceremonious beat
dropped. follow the tallest pointer finger toward
freedom. start movin on the split second before
the first syllable. best to not put ya own sauce on
it till you got the recipe down. careful cuz if you
pivot when you supposed to turn you’ll open a portal
to a universe with no seasoning salt or summon
a drunken coalition of judgmental aunties to witness
your ancestral disgrace or you’ll just flat out tangle
the feet of whoever steppin’ behind you. huslin’ is an exercise
in trust. when i move you move. this here takes precision.
takes patience. can’t go pluggin random steps in. like frayed
wires this shit is dangerous. this shit is rebellious but still
got its rules. like a riot. like it’s 2:45 a.m. outside Oakland
county jail. where a judge authorized the detention of a
15-year old black girl for not completing her homework.
and seriously 15 seconds ago Emmy and Majae were
snoring but now by the power of midwest obligation
to jig to jit to stunt to stand at the front. here they
are still wrapped in blankets and leading us in
procession. as one song blends into the asphalt they
call out the next routine by name and you got
about 30 seconds to catch up or flat out admit
you don’t know this one. aint no such thing as sittin one out.
catch your breath then catch the next upbeat or don’t even say
you was out here with us. someone will always peel from the
crowd to catch you but you got to be vocal about your needs so we know
when you’ve left and when you’ve been captured. got to remember
we are always escaping. lest you spin away from the pack into the cold
arms of prison industry and we won’t know which direction to send
the search party.
Darius Simpson is a writer, educator, performer, and skilled living room dancer from Akron, Ohio. He was a recipient of the 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, American Poetry Review, Crab Creek Review and others. Darius believes in the dissolution of empire and the total liberation of all oppressed people by any means necessary.