*Dakota, in Her Prime



Some characters cling to the surface of your skin long after you've let go of their hands. Such a character was Dakota Swinton. She haunts me still. lmr

*Dakota, in Her Prime

It was a moment after midnight, when Dakota took my hand...
She lead me past the streetlights, and
Through the leather paths of Harlem...
And we paused... before the skeleton of
An old and ghostly jazz club
And we stood before this blackened speakeasy
Where, she once tripped her nights fantastically...
And she once sang,
Back when she could sing.

This was long before my time,
And eons before her tragedy
When she was younger,
"A poor man's Dorothy,"
And quite breathtaking...
In her prime.
A Harlem wind blew gently
Through her cornrows, and lifts her housecoat...
Reveals her long, still-girlish gams,
But the legs are the last to go
And Dakota drifts away sometimes,
And her  amber eyes get lost in cumulus
When she speaks about a lover...
A light beams through
Her clouded cataracts...
He was this jazz man, who played the horn and 
He stroked her mind, not just her body.
Oh! How he strummed her skin like a Stradivarius!
And then, he boldly left her for Paris

Because Negroes then were loveless in America,
And musicians could find acceptance
Inside Parisian arms...

So she grieved sometimes in curses...
And she grieved sometimes in song...
And she wails now, to the music of no one...
Some get the impression, she has been
Wailing, in dirges, for so long.

Dakota makes such a commotion,
And this noise she manifests is blood-curdling
It's a sound outside of music...
And something just outside a scream!
And in the end, after the raging...
There's only silence...

But it's that kind that haunts your eardrums...
With the shrill and painful noise of
A dream cracked and broken
Left to bleed all alone
Inside these streets.

It was a dream, dreamt long before I got here,
And so long before my 'privileged life'...
When she was younger,
"A poor man's Dorothy,"
And quite breathtaking,
In her prime.
Dakota had two sons, and they were wild
And stoned hell-raisers, 
But neither one of them will own her now.
She speaks of them with such sad smiles
And all they do is mock her
Or else they simply shun her...
For in her lost, uncertain quest to become someone,
She became just another selfish mother.

And now the pills she takes for memory
And the ones she takes to smother pain
All her pills come in such pretty colors...
And she flies now... inside her

But a moonbeam shadows her face like a spotlight
And the traffic horns serve as her band.
And she dances in the streets alone  
Once I finally let go of her
*based upon a character from the novel "Like Litter in the Wind" by L.M. Ross

copyright © 2016 by L.M. Ross

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