Motown Philly Back Again

We're all pagans and shamans and clap your hands now we won't stop the beat

We believe in divine healing and we hate to see that evening sun go down

We know when the sight of our women dressed in white each ritual night, is touching, hypnotizes

The animals blush and split for us as revival, as revealed to themselves

These are triumphant women.

Even Sister Fame hiding out in the alley turning tricks and singing verses from the undid scripture, is touching

Thank you jesus, thank you jesus, that you jesus, baby, is that you, she mutters up high between rocks and lacehis eagerness— it was all night long

Sometimes he'd interrupt a recording session to tell us about his early Motown days or expand on his views of Heaven and Hell

One time he was saying how important it was to love one's father.

Do you love yours? I asked him

Why don't you tell him

Why don't you tell your father, he said

I will if you do

You go first

About this poem:
"'Motown Philly Back Again' is a meditation on some of the myths and legends that pervade the recording industry. It includes some catachresis between Marvin Gaye and myself that helps me explore some nuances of paternity as I've experienced it within the context of black culture. The many hyperlinks embedded in the text explicate more of the associative registers of the poem, which is part of a larger series of meditations on crossings between rituals of worship/devotion, rituals of violence, and rituals of entertainment as they converge and diverge in the role of the arts in the lives of black Americans and also all Americans. That series is called 'Great Day in the Morning' and will be available as a chapbook this year."

Harmony Holiday

Copyright © 2013 by Harmony Holiday. Used with permission of the author.