Can’t/ Don’t/Stop – The Feminist Wire

Can’t/ Don’t/Stop

Can’t/Don’t/Stop:  Black Dance in America

for Bert Williams, Aida  “Queen of the Cakewalk” Overton Walker and George Walker

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you don’t see the stretch

you see the strut

you see the lean but

you don’t see the muscle strength

stole from bending backwards

one foot off the street

you don’t see the roots

the rude rootedness

the tree brown rootedness

that love would ground them with

you don’t see the kids

Aida kidding herself when

George gets sick and dies

you don’t see her eyes behind

the makeup playing both their parts

you don’t see her heart

the day her kidney ups and bursts

you don’t see the hurt her head

you don’t think

by their early thirties they will be dead

you don’t see the drink

the drunk off broadway after wash

when Bert has wiped the black off

and his light brown face

feels red and rough and not enough

to deal


you can’t see how we feel

you can’t see how we feel