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At the age of eight 


At the age of eight I was already working to calm the hunger of my family.

I have suffered: hunger, cold—

I have a family

They said I was homely

That I danced like an ape

Then I was less homely—Cosmetics

I was hooted

Then I was applauded—The crowd

I continued to dance—I loved jazz

I continued to sing—I loved sadness; my soul is sick

I had an opportunity—Destiny

I had a mascot—a panther—Ancestral superstition—

I made a tour of the world—In third class and in Pullman

I am moral

They said I was the reverse

I do not smoke—I have white teeth

I do not drink—I am an American

I have a religion

I adore children

I love flowers

I aid the poor—I have suffered much

I love the animals—they are the sincerest

I sing and dance still—Perseverance

I earn much money—I do not love money

I save my money—for the time when I am no longer an attraction.



Dance Poetry
A comprehensive anthology
Edited by Alkis Raftis
Copyright 2012