Note: Charles Blow quotations are from an interview with Terry Gross on NPR: Sept. 26, 2014
Carmen, the shop assistant, slender and kinetic as a twig in wind,
Confides as she scrubs my hair how she waxes herself, down there.
Your hair's soft, she says. Meeting Carmen here for the first time
Takes me back to pictures I've seen of Dorothy Dandridge.
Tragic mulatto — Donald Bogle chaptered her and Lena.
Dandridge, in his book, poses as Carmen Jones in gypsy skirt
and gold hoops, arches her foot and exposes a café au lait thigh.
Charles Blow — an unfortunate name for the journalist who writes a memoir
on sexual abuse — wears his head shaved. Claims sex talk was everywhere
in barber shops growing up. Fluid, he calls his own orientation.
Carmen caresses my fingers when she takes the tip.
— Doralee Brooks
Doralee Brooks, a teacher-consultant with the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, teaches in the Developmental Studies Department at the Community College of Allegheny County. Her poems have appeared in the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Voices from the Attic, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Chapter and Verse in City Paper, Dos Passos Review and Callaloo. She is a master's of fine arts candidate at Carlow University, and writes with the Madwomen in the Attic poetry workshops. She lives in Bridgeville. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.