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Break Down and Dance This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

There was a period of revolution.
From the 1920s to the 1930s
where every black man had stories
and
every white man had one too many glories.
But,
Mickey Mouse didn't just sit down and watch Charlie Chaplin
on his television set,
without listening to jazz.

Big guys
with folk lies
tellin' stories you wouldn't believe
without seein' it with your own eyes,
and
explaining life with their musical manual.

Tellin' you do what you must do
and
always remember who to be true to
and stay on the path god tried to lay down for you
but
take a sidestep.
Dance off the path that's been beaten and fallen on
by everyone you come upon

And now,
push it outta the way because your roots say slave
but your harmony screams soul

and though your documentary hasn't begun
your song has just started.

Each black note has not quite become whole
black,
representing your
note,
representing your goal
still dreamin' of itself
and every broken melody it was
banned
from fallin' on.

Then take your sidestep and old
jazz guitar
and carve that path the king
put on reserve.

Take that scale of your life
then bend it.
And scribble all over it.
Because though your fingers are playin' jazz
your heart is still beatin' the blues
and countin' off your life like it's a chorus,
That's tryin' not to repeat itself.

Steppin' outta the jazz club,
named after memories of men you can't remember
but would never forget.
Cigarette in mouth.
Goin' from nobody
to somebody.
And landin' on the clouds
you dreamed of reaching.

Starin' down the sixteen-inch barrel.
Between you
and the man in the foggy mirror you've been drawing all over for years.
And realizing you're the only one with a finger on the trigger!

Now Stand Up.

And stop dreamin' on shootin' stars
just reach up and grab one.
Wrap
your fingers around the speed of light.
Let's try to slow it down.
And hitch a ride to heaven.
Or just put your initials on it.

So next time it flies over the ocean,
steamboat willy's gonna look up and go

damn,
I know him.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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