For Bella with Love to Jean Nate, and Janelle
By Gayle Bell
Image by Shaquille Dunbar c/o nappy.co
I have tiptoed on the periphery of your lives
Lace and lash
nail and scent
no safe place to hide.
I was 15 and a runaway
young, dumb working this hole in the wall
Selling my wares
Jean Nate was a flame Drag woman.
fingers and toes of iridium
Smelling of Chanel#5 and powder.
Motioning a finger her way
In a gravel and whiskey voice she said
Now hon, watch yoself,
someones been robbing girls and shooin
she waved me away
a trick vying for her attention.
Outside the club, attention riveted to the moon
The glint of a 22.
The hard stare of a man with little to lose.
We walked to the path,
the only sound was my blood
in too big a hurry to decorate the sidewalk.
hey! leave er alone muth-fucka
I didn't ask where the bullet went,
Torn knees and hose,
mascara running, wig askew.
Girl! didn I tell you, just blest
get yo ass off these streets!
We met at the Deep Ellum Poetry Fest
hot pants (black leather!) in the shade,
fishnets & stilettos your signature look.
Poetry that would make Lovecraft quake
You stretched full height,
your butterfly metallic colors
pure as your soul.
Someone said you died in a car crash;
melting in the blaze.
The full circle
dusty days of my education.
what a Drag
my beautiful Peacock
what a Drag!
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