Motown Philly Back Again

By Harmony Holiday b. 1982 Harmony Holiday
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 lace — his 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

Source: Poetry (November 2013).

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2013
 Harmony  Holiday

Biography

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, poet and choreographer Harmony Holiday is the daughter of Northern Soul singer/songwriter Jimmy Holiday. Her father died when she was five, and she and her mother moved to Los Angeles. Holiday was educated at the University of California, Berkeley and at Columbia University. Her debut collection of poems, Negro League Baseball (2011), won the Fence Books Motherwell Prize. Go Find your Father/A Famous . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Religion, God & the Divine, Arts & Sciences, Music

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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