Poet of the Week: Amanda Johnston

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Hymns are swinging low
from a cassette boom-box
pulsing between dusty bottles
of curl activator and ancient blow out kits
made new in the contemporary retro wave.

Worshippers return from Sunday service
to their respective houses of beauty
where baptized kinks become straight
and narrow as the good books decree.

Jet – Old Testament
Essence – New Testament
O – Queen Winfrey’s Version

These sistas sing and shout
a joyful noise louder than the whirring
hairdryers blowing a hot freeze
over stylish bouffant crowns.

Got to look good for the week’s worst
they say and God don’t like ugly.
I know. Not wanting to be rude
my wild atheist hair bows at the sink’s edge,
if not for salvation, at least congregation.


Published in “The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South”
Amanda Johnston’s Poets Tour Profile