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Poet of the Week: Shayla Hawkins

Hawkins, Shayla c-Samuel Johnson
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MOJO WORKING
Detroit, Michigan, circa 1980

Rhythm pulling me
like a magnet to the door
outside my father’s den
and The Electrifying Mojo,
deejay of deejays,
talking smooth
and deep as thunder,
comes through the radio
and music
rides the lush carpet
of his voice
straight into my heart

Soul, techno, rock, R&B
Mojo doesn’t care:
If it’s good, he spins it
and tonight he’s spinning
“I Wanna Be Your Lover”
by some new cat
from Minnesota called Prince

This guy I think
must be nuts,
putting all his business
out in the street,
singing sexy
over keyboards, bass and guitar
to a woman about things
my crayon-wielding, Kindergarten self
isn’t supposed to know,
yet somehow I do

And I get so caught up
in the lovecrazy magic
of this song
that I think for a moment
it’s possible to crawl through
my daddy’s stereo
to WGPR on East Jefferson
where Mojo’s in his studio
working the records
that drip a honey-sweet funk
into my ears
and thank him
for planting a wish
in my little girl heart
to be a woman
and have a man
singing to her
with all the passion
of that looney dude
from Minneapolis

 

First published in Tidal Basin Review

Shayla Hawkins’ Poets Tour Profile