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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).

Patricia Spears Jones

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

  1. Richard
    January 18, 2022

    I was inwardly weeping as I read this poem–so many gone, black genius exiled, shot, imprisoned, strung out, lynched. It isn’t my faith but the Devil is as alive to me as he is in your poem. Gratitude, Pat, for the catharsis.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Huntington
    January 17, 2022

    Poignant. We envied those beautiful Afros but we were safe in white cocoons

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rosemary Roenfanz
    January 17, 2022

    Marvelous writing. Though I don’t believe in “the Devil”, there is hatred for black genius. Please keep sharing your thoughts. Rosemary

    Liked by 2 people

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