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Dawn Saylor

Born the daughter of ministers, Dawn Saylor grew up under revival tents along the east coast. One of the original spoken words poets to appear on HBO's "Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry," her powerful work has been described as "cutting like a broken bottle with the soul of a butterfly." Saylor is an eloquent spokesperson for the human heart in all its fragile beauty and resilience. She has captained three poetry slam teams (from Kalamazoo, MI) all the way to the National Poetry Slam championships. Dawn currently resides in New York while pursuing a degree in education from Goddard College. She is currently manages the Bowery Poetry Club, NYC’s only club devoted entirely to poetry.





Mermaids

Bella was a single mom
2 children and no man
She said he ran off one night
Leaving her alone to fend
for this now shattered family
Sabrina was putting herself
through law school
Worked by day as a legal aide
at night at the club
In between as a student
Filling in the empty moments
with reminders of her potential
Natalia was an engineer
paying off loans
Chelsea was taking care of her mother
Kira was a poet
who wouldn’t write about it for years
Dancers always have beautiful names
Signatures that are auras protecting the skin
that gracefully ripples across the eyes of men
They rename themselves Destiny
Maybe a little girl fantasy
of long flowing hair and beauty
There is always beauty
Somewhere between tree climbing
and prom
we learn to forget that daydream
Somewhere the picture turned Picasso
and there are the jagged edges
of a fear struck society’s notions
of what beauty should be
They sell it to us
In soft colors
and silent promises
The images of 10 women
thin and faceless
Standing in pretty panties
pulling jeans over perfect asses
saying
this is what you want
This is what you’re supposed to be
So is it any wonder
There are men who need
what women are taught
is the sum of their worth
You see
Dancers are as fragile
as that Christmas tea set
and as heartbreaking
as the first time one of the cups break
Abuse is a word they don’t speak
but you can see that fracture of memory
when their eyes search the past
These women are only doing
what they’ve learned by example
Your body is beauty
and beauty is money
Now what are you willing
to lose for it
These are side of the road visions
from a woman forgetful sometimes
Not the mystic rhythms
of justification
This is a portrait of the truth
I got a call one morning
I need to move
Can you come?
He had kicked her
with steel toed intention
in the base of her spine
She could barely walk
and there were 6 of us
Packing and moving
No one saying a word
We were all afraid of crying
I saw her once after that
She disappeared
after her back healed
Once she could walk again
I have a picture from that day
We are both smiling
to hold back the tears
Because we all know better
But we all want to be held
Like the first time we loved
Cradled like a child
still asleep from the car ride
Time makes phantoms of fantasies
makes it easy to forget
that we wanted more
One by one


© Dawn Saylor



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