Since You've Been Gone

I wore an afro because of Aretha Franklin.
I wore black eyeliner like a big cat because of Aretha Franklin.
Glitter mini-skirts? Aretha Franklin.  
Go-Go boots and, clad bad enough to be hot stuff, I used to strut down
the street because of Aretha Franklin.
I used to be saucy, curvy and delectable because of Aretha Franklin.


The sorrowless song of the black thrush bird sang songs of the broken heart, sang songs of love and men, her heart broken again and again.
It was the 1960s, the summer my brother was a black panther, the summer our car was blown to hell and back—and people white and black with love on their hearts returned pieces of it to us at our front door.
The house was sweaty. Soulful heat.
Windows open.
Mother was in the kitchen cooking, her hips moving soul to the body shaking music she played way too loud.
Speakers everywhere. 
The sound shaking the floorboards.
Then this voice comes.
A woman but a May Mau Revolution entendre Galaxy traveler woman—as wild as a hurricane…
Must have driven every man insane who even laid eyes on her…
"Who is THAT?" I asked my mother, holding on to my mother’s waist from behind, my head against her back trying to hold her down like a crazed balloon breaking through the sky.
"That’s Aretha Franklin," she said, "the ultimate queen of all queens of Soul. Let me go."
And I did. And we danced to the change in history,
Heavy bassline sultry her-story ... that was that was how it had to be.

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