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Mick Powell


candy girls (1961)


i remember dancing with this man who was Harry-Belafonte-handsome, with a gold tooth and coiled hair and no wife. and i didn’t have a husband with me, so i let that cool man hold me in that dark Birmingham banquet hall and we swayed like we was willows in autumn, breezed our bodies to the same beat til i came clean water.


and i remember he was smilin’ like i was the most beautiful black girl he’d seen in his lifetime, like i was the last good box of jujyfruit.


and i was smilin’ with the clean water between my legs and i wasn’t so ashamed to be black and wet with strange hands all over me.


and i remember me and him left cuz he had a place up the road. and i remember it rained and he draped an old jacket over me. i remember it smelled like evergreen.


and i know we wasn’t supposed to be there, the street, the city, none of it. i know that sundown could turn the town into a hunger and a hunger so fixed ain’t so easily satisfied.


and i know nothing could stop a hell-bent devil, but we was happy and we was black in the rain with a gospel song in our mouths, thinkin’ how we might make christ out of each other’s bodies that night.


and then the blue eye of a hell-bent devil, of a white man with a deep hunger for black flesh, for black blood, fell on my chest heavy, heavy. and we was black and all blood, and probably should’ve been on the other side of the street, and this hell-bent devil wrecked my man’s mouth with a stone. a small string of teeth shot straight from between his lips and the moonlight shined on them and the world turned blue, so blue, and my gospel turned a scream when something broke open my chest and my clean water turned blood cuz this other devil was inside of me.


the devil was inside of me.


and the night had turned blue and our blood had crimsoned the streets and when it was over, when the two devils dropped their blistering cum over my body and kicked my man’s stomach in so deep that he was choking up pieces of bone, i remember feeling lucky.


i remember feeling lucky.


lucky that i wasn’t dead and he wasn’t dead, lucky that i could carry him to his home under the patchless blue sky, whispering a soft gospel through the gentle and roaring rain.

candy girls (1988)


i was so high that even my bedroom was blue, so i don’t remember how the door got open.


i don’t remember the body or how hard it fell on me. i don’t remember the hands that touched me, how they might have touched me days later or today and i wouldn’t even recognize them.


i wouldn’t even recognize them.


but i do remember wanting to fuck to New Edition. i remember wanting to fuck to New Edition so bad that it made my mouth hurt.


it made my mouth hurt so bad that i said it out loud to a room full of family, but we was all teenage, coolin’ out with a fat blunt and the room was all blue.


and i was like, for real for real i wanna fuck to New Edition and all the girl cousins had already fucked to New Edition so they waved their pretty black hands like, oh you’re just a baby. and all the boy cousins was like, who you wanna fuck anyways? and i remember i didn’t have anyone in mind, so i said the first name of a friend.


i said the first name of a friend who lived down the street. i remember the room was all blue and my cousin B was the one who called and he said, my nigga, she just told us she wanna fuck you. and i remember B’s laugh as a forest fire. i was so high, i was thinking of how hungry forest fires are, how salty a forest must taste.


i remember the friend showed up and i remember he was Basquiat with the hair and cool-ass-kid with the weed and New Edition was playing. i remember B pointed to the friend’s groin and asked if i’d be able to stand his rain. i remember everyone’s laugh.


i remember everyone’s laugh as a forest fire.


i remember reminding myself how badly i wanted to fuck to New Edition, how badly i wanted someone to squeeze my ass and call me candy girl while i rode on top of him.


and i remember the room got more blue, the room got so blue that my body suddenly became a water balloon. i remember the friend was all up on me and i was a water balloon wanting to burst and so i was like, yo nigga get up off me.


and so i burst in my bedroom and i was so high that even my bedroom was blue, and i collapsed on the bed, and i hardly heard the door close, and i hardly felt the push inside me, and i couldn’t name the figure as he staggered from the room, and the yellow light outside the door looked like a forest fire, and i couldn’t even recognize what New Edition song was playing softly, so softly, as if to sing me to sleep.

candy girls (2011)


i remember my body.


i remember my body all buttercup and cypress, a string of kaleidoscope rose petals wrapped around a wrist, drenched in sandalwood, in a hash of soft moonlight.


i remember my body a bright kitchen, all sugar. jag. sweet milk. papaya and lime. basil leaf. slow fire, the smell of it.


i remember my body a dancing thing.


i remember my body dancing at the cookout. i imagine the cookout a church. i imagine a church on fire. slow fire. i imagine a fire and its hunger.


i am all sugar. i am in short shorts. i am seventeen. i am a grown ass woman.


my grandmother calls me borboléta.


i remember all the words to the New Edition song. i sing all the words to the New Edition song. my brother’s friends think it’s cute. i am cute, all buttercup and cypress, all seventeen and alive, all butterfly with my tongue where it didn’t belong.


i am in short shorts at the cookout. i dance into the bright kitchen, alone. i am suddenly surrounded by my brother’s friends. they still think i’m cute. they also think i’m convertible. they convert my body into a fat blunt. i remember being passed around the room. my brother’s friends put me in their mouths.


i imagine my body sweet milk. i imagine my body turned to ash.


i remember my body a butterfly’s tongue. i remember being seventeen and putting my tongue where it didn’t belong. i remember being sorry i was alive where i shouldn’t have been alive with my tongue where it didn’t belong.


i remember it rained later on. i remember it thundered. i remember my body a jawbreaker, all sugar. i remember feeling heavy, heavy. i imagine a heavy church.


i imagine all the tithe. i imagine all the gospel. i remember feeling heavy, heavy. i remember having a body.


i remember being eaten, all sugar. i remember all the words to the New Edition song. i sang all the words to the New Edition song.


i remember the rain.


i remember i couldn’t stand it.

Mick Powell (she/her) is a queer black Cape Verdean femme feminist poet who likes revolutionary acts of resistance. She is currently an MFA candidate in Poetry at Southern Connecticut State University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Apogee Journal, Winter Tangerine, The Feminist Wire, and others.

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