Leslie Dianne


We double dutched
in the middle of the street
turning flying saucers with our hands
drumming beats with our feet

Mamas called us
home for peanut butter
and jelly lunches
winos held up
the corners with brown
paper bags and wobby legs

Mr Murray came crusing
in his cadillac, picking up
numbers, handing out
winnings to the lucky women
and men who’d had the good
fortune to play their weight,
their phone numbers or
their dreams

He gave us nickels
For hershey bars and Mary Janes
we piled into the car
Braids bobbing with excitement
Our hands surfing the city wind
and headed for Freedom land
where we could be
anybody and do anything

I was the fat lady in the mirror
Jackie was the clown with no head
Octavia was a pirate with a sword arm
Robbie was three feet tall

Back home we seesawed and
swung as high as the moon
jacks and balls
spilled over on the stoops
we scooped them up
like stars and planets
in our neighborhood universe

We learned back then
and we haven’t forgotten
that we were once
little girl gods
who owned
the kingdom
of Harlem.

Leslie Dianne is a poet,  novelist, screenwriter, playwright and performer whose work has been acclaimed internationally in places such as the Harrogate Fringe Festival in Great Britain, The International Arts Festival in Tuscany, Italy and at La Mama in New York City. Her stage plays have been produced in NYC at The American Theater of Actors, The Raw Space, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater and The Lamb’s Theater.  She holds a BA in French Literature from CUNY and her poems have appeared in Noctivant Press, The Wild Word, Trouvaille Review, Moida, Sparks of Calliope and The Elevation Review and are forthcoming in Wood Cat Review and Boston Accent Lit.  Her poetry was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.