Growing Up Story #1

when i was four we lived in Beaufort, S.C.

just outside the Parris Island Naval Base

mom pauline made me wear dresses I hated

drab grey and white checkered things

always hanging off me like flour sacks

my dad emory let me pick out corduroy jeans

soft   comfy   unconfined

pauline made me wear a little red hat

i was always swatting

the tassels that streamed down my face

and looked like the entrails of a chicken

i loved going to pre-school

could already read

was learning to write

from the brightly-colored plastic alphabet stencils

lorraine, the lady who rented the “little house” behind ours

had bought especially for me

i loved going to see her

until one day her husband don

appeared in the living room

in his boxers

his dick hanging out

i told emory -

he exploded

my alphabet stencils


so did don and lorraine

Chocolate Waters is a continuously evolving radical feminist poet and celebrant of the new power of the feminine. She began performing her work in the mid 70's and has toured throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada. Her first three books of poetry are considered classics of the Second Wave, and her latest book, the woman who wouldn’t shake hands, was published by Poets Wear Prada (Hoboken, NJ). She currently conducts the Poetry Circle for senior writers at Hamilton House in Manhattan. Her latest book, Bittersweet Resurrection, (Eggplant Press, NYC) will be released in 2020. You can see what she’s up to at Friend her on Facebook (she always welcomes more friends).