by Stephanie Rogers-Moore
Daughter of Bettye and Freddie
in Flushing, Queens.
Still waiting for Publisher’s Clearinghouse
to find our apartment
and for the Mets to have a World Series season,
I’m just saying!
But that’s not the reason I’m calling.
You see…It’s about poetry.
Momma used to write it, now I recite it
and Daddy makes copies and mounts
Colored Cardboard Paper behind it.
“To make it look professional,” he says.
I just think it looks cool, so I go with it.
As far as Church goes,
It’s practically a Family Praise Project!
All dressed up for Anniversary services
and Special events…
but now it’s not as safe a bet as I thought.
A poem I gave to my Youth Leader
up and disappeared.
Daddy brought a spare copy before Service,
coming to my rescue, just like YOU,
and I thought the crisis was over
only to discover
that Original piece of Colored Cardboard Paper
in my youth leader’s hands for another service a month later!
Now I’m not old enough to throw hands about it
(especially since YOU say to turn the other cheek),
but this is how I Praise to honor YOU and my Family!
How can I do that if the words can get stolen from me?
I don’t even want an apology…
well yeah, I DO,
but it’s more important to me, for my Family,
to find a way through this calamity!
If Cardboard Paper copies aren’t the key
for all this poetry,
what Praise can I offer
where you’ll know that it’s Me?
ODE TO “THE REVOLUTION”!*
(*And the Prince who started it all)
One summer, back in the 80’s
when my Deacon Daddy and
First Lady Momma went food shopping,
my Brother was in charge of watching over me
while I was playing sick.
No, you heard that right, and I was good at it!
I had to be, because my Brother and I
were on a mission!
As soon as my father’s blue Chevy Nova
pulled out of the parking lot,
my Brother was out the door with our allowance
and Mama’s video rental card in hand.
I dashed to the kitchen to make popcorn
and sneak Sugar Babies from my Dad’s secret stash.
10 minutes! In, out, get the tape in the VCR!
Take note of the travel time, grab the snacks!
At long last,
“Ladies and Gentlemen…The Revolution!”
blasted through our TV speakers.
Despite our parents’ nay-sayings
and “I know what’s best for you” intentions,
“Purple Rain” was on the console,
shaking windows and cracking open the door
to wild styles and rock-filled, seductive music
we’d already been taught to know.
We’d done it!
Phase One of Our Plan was complete,
and my Brother and I became covert revolutionaries
in our own way.
But true success would only be realized
once the tape was rewound and returned
to the store
before our parents were due to return home.