I fall in love with men
for their voices,
the sound they make
being alive.

I fell in love with a man once
for the way he said little.
I fell in love with him
for perfect inflection,
for making language live.
I fell in love with a man
who talked about his little boy,
and when he said it,
it said all there was to say,
about being a man,
having a son.

I fall in love with dark men
whose deep voices
are candied gravel,
drippin’ with molasses,
filled with the blues
and flirtation,
mellifluous voices of men
who know how to say honey
and make you glad to be
sticky and sweet,
men who know
what the sugar blues really is,
men who know how to say

I fall in love with voices,
Satchmo and Taj Mahal,
men who are rough
who know how to be smooth,
men who know their voices
and how to use them.

I fall in love with men
for their voices,
Louis singin’
what a beautiful world,
makin’ me shiver,
salty voices
bein’ sweet,
been here
and gone
and Taj Mahal
too ooooh
ooooh ooooh
sayin’ um um um.

I fall in love with men
for their voices,
and if I don’t fall in love,
it is that the voice
has no power to affect me,
living with men whose voices
strike no chord,
who must rely on mean words
to make me tremble.

My father’s voice
laid out like yardsticks,
hard straight lines,
fixed with metal ends,
a voice of only one mood,
which tastes rusty water
and never molasses.

My first writing teacher
whose voice only hit certain notes,
tellin’ me not to be
so unyielding,
but I got the point,
so ‘yielding.

A man named John
talkin’ to me about Hadacol
and the Women’s Society
of Christian Service,
his every word a coming home,
the letting down of milk,
his voice a reconnection
with my culture,
his language living,
making my past alive.

I have written myself a note,
saying my voice is like
pigeon feathers in the wind,
I must find a voice.
I am trying to explain
to some man,
my need for a voice
like Little Richard,
my desire to do
a good, loud LU CEELE,
leavin’ parties early
to practice my Satchmo.

I fall in love with men
for their voices.
I have fallen in love
with your voice,
which is rough and sweet,
whose every word
is a coming home,
a reconnection,
um um um
I love your voice.
I want to tell you
not to be frightened,
you can just send tapes,
I won’t impose on your time.
My greatest loves are out of town,
words on paper,
voices across long cords,
I understand the fear of imposition,
but I have fallen in love
with your voice,
which skips space,
which changes rhythmmmm
and time,
which undermines your words,
sayin’ things you want
to keep secret,
your voice a reconnection,
making me tremble
and breathe deep,
your voice which defies
I love defiance
and your voice.

We are sitting on the beach,
I cannot see your eyes.
I only hear your voice,
making it difficult
to concentrate on words
and meaning,
your every word
a coming home,
a reconnection,
the wind in
face your
in the air,
I cannot see your eyes,
only the gray in your beard
and the sound of your ,
pigeon feathers
in your beard,
my voice white birds
in your hair,
your voice
the wind,
your voice
which moves
like the train,
with effort uphill,
with ease
through the plains,
your voice
picking up speed,
changing rhythmmmm
and time,
skipping space,
the great ease of tension,
the coming home,
the letting down,
the flow of milk,
my voice
white birds,
your voice
the wind.

I love men who know their voices,
and how to use them,
I have fallen in love
with your voice.

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