Magic (for Ntozake Shange)


listen with

undivided attention

and empathy

to her voice

a black lady’s song

from girl to woman

throughout her

journey of discovery

getting to know


where little black girls

with pigtails adorned

with bright colored barrettes

double dutch and hopscotch

on asphalt, summer streets

learning to love


where young, black adolescents

bare their souls

on composition notebooks

and sketch pads

seeking understanding

in a misunderstood world


God’s ferocity inside


where brown-eyed, black adults

channel their ancestors’ spirits

and express themselves

with a dancer’s rhythm

to the universe’s beat

because art is

everything she is

everything she does

to make something

something special

to call her own.



Copyright © 2019 by Bill Holmes.

All rights reserved.



Bill Holmes is the author of the full-length poetry book Straight From My Heart, the spoken word CD, The Air I Breathe, and the ESSENCE bestselling fiction novel One Love. Bill’s work has been featured in the Philadelphia Tribune, ESSENCE, African Voices, and the anthologies Journey Into My Brother’s Soul, Erogenous Zone: A Sexual Voyage, and Step Up To The Mic: A Poetic Explosion. Bill is the founder of the creative-writing course Write Here! Write Now! which he taught for five years at Temple University through the grassroots, non-profit organization PASCEP.