I wanted a little black dress

To be the dialectic

To be the poem

I wrote about cities

How every city is a city

Of contrasts

The living people

Are opposites

These are

Because the others are not

Everything is political

A little black dress

A woman

Saying no

She can’t

Is a political act

Anything we say

And then mean

And hardly recover from

For some years

Hanging black

After black 




 I’m looking at her big gold hoops and high tops

I just wouldn’t know how to be that way

Earlier he said please

Try something different

I looked at him

And kept the pins in my hair

I thought it was gangster

The finger

Waves forming while we fucked

He said please don’t do that again

Don’t what I said be me?

It’s scary

I’m looking at her big gold hoops and high tops

I can go there

There where it’s them

And not us

Where I’m a no-fun-cause-I’m-in-heels bitch

I don’t wanna go mad

I don’t wanna go blind

Such things have already been

I’m not wearing big gold hoops

I’m not wearing high tops

How many ways we disappoint

Does that mean it’s over

Does that make us free

I’m looking at her big gold hoops and high tops

We are meant to be

People who listen to love songs

Love songs are meant to scare

Heartbreak songs are love songs

Sometimes men feel helpless

Sometimes women feel helpless

Sometimes we say honest

Things to each other

And mean to

Sometimes we can

Stay in love this way

Without fear

I’m looking at her big gold hoops and high tops

Women can be in a hall of women

Without thinking if only

I let my hair out before we fucked

He wouldn’t wanna

If only

If only

Good thing I didn’t

What does he know about making waves

What does he know

About all this

The patience it took

I left the pins in

And I am perfectly wavy 

Vanessa Jimenez Gabb is the author of the chapbooks Weekend Poems (dancing girl press, 2014) and Red Poems (forthcoming, Similar:Peaks:: Poetry and Press). She is the co-founder of Five Quarterly and teaches at Newark Academy. More stuff at