“Desegregation Days” by Tyler Malone

Cops’ arms folded, weapons holstered
as partiers shuffled prom dances. Black and white
for the first time, barely keeping herself in,
she keeps it all together, nose to nose
with a blond boy strapped in a cummerbund,
pants buckled high, keeping the party tasteful.

Her top’s low tempting a boy
not from her side of the tracks, the side with asphalt streets.
For her, shame is shelved with veterans’ booze
by white girls desiring Vermont weddings—
a female in any skin wants, just twice, to dress
in elegance like a cartoon princess.

Temptation and sex, sex and temperament
parents’ nightmares made possible by
segregated VFW card tables shoved to corners.
Chairs stacked to clear the stained concrete
dance floor. Cops stood by the front door

seeing the forever awkward photo—the first
of its scene the photographer had seen. Black and white
kids in sea blue captured black—the backdrop
draped over photos of dead veterans.

The boy’s plywood flat hand hovered over her waist,
ready for the chaperone’s worst; thinking under
his hair buzzed to a brick: She’s the best, not
thinking of parents or advancing color photography.
Police barriers won’t stop him from living in black and white.


Like most of us, Tyler Malone involuntarily gets his ideas while in the shower. He tries to write them into the condensation, but the best ones run and slide into the drain. He has been featured in The Bicycle Review, the-beat-co.uk, Moon Publishing, and Mad Swirl, in which he has been featured as the guest poetry editor. His non-fiction has been featured in LetIt Bleed. His first book, The Brief Life Is Always the Best, is will be released by desperanto in February of 2012. He is currently guest editor of Tea with George, a fledgling online publication under desperanto.

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