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By Joel Dias-Porter

First hold the needle

     like a lover’s hand

Lower it slowly

     let it tongue

     the record’s ear

Then cultivate

     the sweet beats

     blooming in the valley

     of the groove

Laugh at folks

     that make requests

What chef would let

     the diners determine

Which entrees

     make up the menu?

Young boys

     think it’s about

     flashy flicks

     of the wrist

But it’s about filling the floor

     with the manic

     language of dance

About knowing the beat

     of every record

     like a mama knows

     her child’s cries

Nobody cares

     how fast you scratch

Cuz it ain’t about

     soothing any itch

It’s about how many hairstyles

     are still standing

At the end of the night.


Source: Poetry (April 2015)

Poet Bio

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, performance poet Joel Dias-Porter served in the US Air Force following high school, and then worked for several years as a professional disc jockey in the Washington, DC area under the name DJ Renegade.  A Cave Canem Fellow and member of Washington, DC’s WriterCorps, Porter has taught at Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts. He lives in the DC area. Dias-Porter’s poetry engages the act of improvisation through explorations of intimacy, jazz music, and family heritage.

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