Black. Ice. Bodies – by jessica Care moore

Except from We Want Our Bodies Back, by jessica Care moore 2020 pp 83 – 88.

(for Debi Thomas and Alicia Hall Moran, after her show “Breaking Ice: The Battle of the Carmens”)

1.

I was pre med. fresh. Stanford.

I was a refined black girl magic.

I was gold, already.  Ask my mother,

Janice. I was born gold.

With killer smile &

strong beautiful

legs.

I was trying desperately to concentrate

I didn’t feel like I could

I don’t want skating to control my life

You gotta make yourself happy.

Maybe your body will just do it

Maybe you will backflip and land on one skate

Puzzle them by doing something that has

Nothing to do with them, scores

or ice.

How dare you be that unapologetically black. Girl.

?

They   call you a rebel, rebellious.

A trouble maker.

Don’t bring all that honesty to the ice.

Your gotta represent. Pretend those scores are way

Below the mason dixon.

I just want to hear one, “beautiful”

For one brown girl surrounded by all that

frozen, white.

I want to hear one, “beautiful”

From one white commentator.

A gorgeous.

A stunning.

I want my dark lover in the audience to have

a close up, as he admires me and promises

his own gold, if I don’t win.

Now, that’s a love story.

Let’s see it.

Let’s hear it.

How many times have heard this non story

This disappearing this melting of spirit this madness

Oh, yes, that is dark beautiful mother

in the audience. Stage left.

She wants the commentators to applaud Debi’s double

the way they saw the same flawless

double that was a double on Katarina

You see, we must

triple

their doubles

Contort into something unrealistic, unreachable

Stanford. Stay firm. Study Hard. Don’t fall.    Balance.

You can’t be average and brown and girl.

That won’t do.

You must absolutely dominate. Always.

This is not a pretty sport, despite all those pretty dresses.

2.

Ask Mabel Fairbanks.

Scorpion child in 1916 Harlem

Black leather pawn shop skates

Stuffed with cotton.

Turned ponds into city Olympic stadiums

Not allowed inside to skate, not allowed

To practice on public rinks.

Taught in private. She created her own

Ice shows. Coached and taught the next

Ones how to grow & skate alone.

She skated with me

She felt the trauma inside the freedom

The pain with every push away from the edge

CALGARY, CANADA – FEBRUARY 27: Debi Thomas of the USA skates her Long Program of the Women’s Singles event of the Figure Skating competition of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games on February 27, 1988 at the Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Thomas was the bronze medalist in the event. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)

3.

I’m skating to Carmen. It’s an Opera.

It’s not like we are wearing the

Same prom dress.

Katarina.

Beautiful. Gorgeous. A Natural Beauty.

She was crowned queen before the bow.

They said/I had/a street smart musicality

Is Katarina not from the streets of East Germany?

Does she not have a street smart musicality?

These are not shell toe Adidas. This is not black top.

this is black ice

I didn’t take Carmen to the East German corner.

This was not a breakdance beat down in a Brooklyn

Alley.

This is figure skating.

Go figure.

I should feel pretty

good about myself.

Not proud, not invincible, not bad.

She said “not bad.”

I was just okay?

How many triples equals feeling pretty good.

I am on fire.

I am ready to just be a student again.

Become doctor, an intellectual.

My soundtrack, black excellence.

 

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