Black Girl Shuffle

black girl shuffle

no school no reason
to go outside
2-room 58 yelverton road.

banned from the lino
my white shoes shuffle
time-steps on a blackboard
doing my thing all summer
break on a small square space.

there was one bed
I lay in
made up for four
often sleeping one
or three but
I never slept alone.

our space kept us
tight - me and sis
we were one
of two-tapping feet
for this small girl someone
was always there –
a safe world.home

on this syncopated space
bronze-medal toes
tap my mind out of corners
skip, time-travel, glide
rhythms of worlds inside myself
sounding out time
stepping on a blackboard.


from Connecting Medium (Peepal Tree Press, 2001) copyright © Dorothea Smartt 2001, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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1Mother Music

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2Generations Dreaming I

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3Generations Dreaming II

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4Craving

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5Five Strands of Hair

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6Black Girl Shuffle

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7Forget

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8Home

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9Milkdreams Ghost

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10Connecting Medium I

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11Connecting Medium II

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12Gambian Sting

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13c.1950 – Bubble n’ Squeak

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14c. 1967 – Sweet Potato n’ Callaloo

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15I'm In The Market For Hair

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16Ruby Lips

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17Shipshape & Lancaster-Fashion

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18Bringing It All Back Home

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19Samboo’s Elegy: No Rhyme Or Reason

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2099 Names of Samboo

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21Lancaster Keys: The Brew Room

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22Shake my Future

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23Pissed Off

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24A Sense of Denial

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25After Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, “Gaia breaks up with Humanity, her young lover”

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Books by Dorothea Smartt