Blueprint for Leaving a Black Man by Yolanda Franklin

“I’m a new pair of eyes every time I am born.”~ Tina Turner

Ike hit Tina, and then she hit him solo. Debut: the brink
of a platform boot in the backseat of a limo scene.

Ms. Turner left that black man; her name and Autumn weave
split, You know you love him, but can’t understand why

he treats you like he do when he’s such a good man. 
1984: Tina, can’t stand the rain…against her window

brings back sweet memories/ Oh, pain, don’t you remember? 
The a cappella arabesque of a “Proud Mary,” so low Buddhist

rosaries confessed a Hail Mary of catcalls caused
by her fishnet’s duet with a denim mini?

Let’s skirt:

Ike called back. Sometime after midnight, he wanted
to re-rehearse stage positions again. He agreed

that he looked great right there next to Tina holding
his bass guitar & afro pick, then shouted, “You better be good to me!”

My husband, too, held a six-shooter to my head. 
I negotiated what love’s got to do with staying,

our asleep children, nestled like toes
in peek-a-boo stilettos & that scratched

vinyl of night looped I’m a soul survivor
the night I became queen. 

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Contributor Notes

Yolanda J. Franklin’s work is forthcoming or has appeared in PMS: poemmemoirstory, Sugar House ReviewCrab Orchard Review’s American South Issue, The Hoot & Howl of the Owl Anthology of Hurston Wright Writers’ Week, SPECS: Journal of Arts & Culture’s Kaleidoscopic Points Issue. Her awards include a 2012 Cave Canem fellowship, the 2013 Kingsbury Award, and several scholarships, including a summer at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Indiana Writer’s Week, and Colrain Poetry Manuscript Workshop. Her collection of poems, Ruined Nylons, was a finalist for the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Award. She is a graduate of Lesley University's MFA Writing Program and is a doctoral candidate at Florida State University.