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The Devil’s Wife Explains Broken “45s” by Patricia Spears Jones

Patricia Spears Jones’ new poem was originally published by

Patricia Spears Jones: The Devil’s Wife Explains Broken “45s”

“There was a time” James Brown sang, and I want to dance. But that causes the devil

to prance upon me, then lash higher his liege around my waist & squeeze me

till my voice box almost shatters. You’re a doll, he says, as he smashes our

turntable laughing at the clatter ancient 45 RPM’s make as they break   treasures

from a lost last century when sweet soul music elevated our scissoring feet

How he hated haloed Afros radiant with pride & that slide away from suffering—

The devil hates Black genius. Made him work harder than hard to render

it witless and dope stung. He hates having to move one iota out of his trifling

comfort zone.  Can’t I listen to one piece of my heart untarnished by his guile.

Child soul music is now in limbo, and me bruised again, cleaning up those broken 45s,



somewhere on the other side of this sad Kingdom

Another woman augurs the audio

& James Brown sings out “There was a time”


For Greg Tate


Copyright 2022 Patricia Spears Jones

Patricia Spears Jones many publications include A Lucent Fire: New and Selected (Buffalo, 2015).