Dorothea Smartt

Image by Robert Taylor

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.


Dorothea Smartt

Dorothea Smartt reading from her Poems

1Mother Music

2Generations Dreaming I

3Generations Dreaming II


5Five Strands of Hair

6Black Girl Shuffle



9Milkdreams Ghost

10Connecting Medium I

11Connecting Medium II

12Gambian Sting

13c.1950 – Bubble n’ Squeak

14c. 1967 – Sweet Potato n’ Callaloo

15I’m In The Market For Hair

16Ruby Lips

17Shipshape & Lancaster-Fashion

18Bringing It All Back Home

19Samboo’s Elegy: No Rhyme Or Reason

2099 Names of Samboo

21Lancaster Keys: The Brew Room

22Shake my Future

23Pissed Off

24A Sense of Denial

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

Books by Dorothea Smartt