Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Gratitude first and always to the Creator, from Whom all words and life descend, and to the ancestors for watching over. To my family: Trellie James Jeffers, Valjeanne Jeffers Thompson, Sidonie Jeffers, Toussaint Thompson, Gabrielle Thompson, and Mikail Thompson. ...

I

Fast Skirt Blues: for V.

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pp. 3-4

Muse, a Lady Cautioning: for Billie Holiday

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pp. 5-5

The Battered Blues (Four Movements)

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pp. 6-10

Don’t Know What Love Is

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pp. 11-11

Worn Blues Refrain

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pp. 12-12

Pantoum for a Black Man on a Greyhound Bus

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pp. 13-14

Think of James Brown Pleading: for Michael Datcher

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pp. 15-16

II

Sarai Gives Hagar the Egyptian to Abram

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pp. 19-19

Hagar’s Night with Abram

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pp. 20-20

Sarai Waits for the Birth of Hagar's Son

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pp. 21-21

Hagar to Sarai

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pp. 22-22

Sarah Overhears the Three Angels Telling Abraham God Will Destroy Sodom

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pp. 23-23

The Wife of Lot Before the Fire

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pp. 24-25

The Wife of Lot Has a Premonition of Her Death

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pp. 26-27

The Wife of Lot Witnesses Her Husband Offering Their Two Daughters to Sodom’s Crowd

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pp. 28-28

The Wife of Lot After the Fire

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pp. 29-30

The Two Daughters of Lot After the Fire

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pp. 31-32

Sarah Gives Birth to Isaac

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pp. 33-33

Sarah Confronts Abraham over Hagar

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pp. 34-34

Hagar in the Wilderness

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pp. 35-36

III

The Book of Alabama: Chapter Coltrane / for Michael S. Harper

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pp. 39-39

Five Note Range of Sorrow: for Alvin Ailey's Revelations

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pp. 40-40

Day Clean: for Natasha

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pp. 41-42

Outlandish Blues (The Movie)

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pp. 43-44

Now with the Morning: for James Baldwin and Billy Jack Gaither

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pp. 45-45

Incident at Cross Plains (The Lynching of William Luke, 1870)

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pp. 46-46

Unidentified Female Student, Former Slave (Talladega College, circa 1885)

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pp. 47-47

Confederate Pride Day at Bama (Tuscaloosa, 1994)

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pp. 48-48

Aretha at Fame Studios

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pp. 49-50

Notes

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pp. 51-52