a poem for Mary Wilson

The Ecuadorian cacao I use
to lace my coffee with had finished
the day before. So I switch to Venezuelan.
Ooooh. The Venezuelan smells so enticing.
It’s a multinational set and I’m saving
the Ghanaian package for the end time.

The internet is slow coming on line
as the coffee brews. At last, five green bars
on the router! Then the coffee gurgles
alerting me: remove the coffee pot
from the fire cooking it.

The news flash quickens my spirit:
Mary Wilson has died at 76.

She was never my favorite Supreme.
I reserved my 12-year-old crush for the tall one,
Florence Ballard. My mother understood,
and brought me a new 45 home each Friday.
I’d listen to the music and dream
about slow dragging with the tall one.

But Mary was always the one with the sweetest voice,
and the smoothest steps, and the brownest skin.
Mary was the prettiest one. The one with most talent.

No one believed the Motown sound would not
last forever. Like names I can’t remember,
the boy groups and girl groups disappeared
or disbanded with time. In Greensboro Sheryl and
Cynthia and Theresa gave the songs and steps
a local flavor every summer. We loved the summer,
and we loved the Supremes. But there’s more.

It was so good while it lasted. It took our attention
off the distant war, and the deaths of our brothers,
(so many died), and the murder of the President
we loved. We suppressed our grief and sadness with
Motown songs, the music of young America.

But over time the sadness came back, leaking through
the layers of reasons encasing it, bubbling to the surface.

It is hard to sleep at night. The medicine eases the pain
and aches of memory, slowly soothing us with dreams
we can still be invincible, that a brighter future is yet
a possibility. Turn off the sham impeachment news and
watch some old Motown videos. Diana is the last of the
original Supremes left. Worship in her temple.

4 thoughts on “a poem for Mary Wilson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s