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My Father Is a Retired Magician

(for ifa, p.t., & bisa)

my father is a retired magician
which accounts for my irregular behavior
everythin comes outta magic hats
or bottles wit no bottoms & parakeets
are as easy to get as a couple a rabbits
or 3 fifty cent pieces/   1958

my daddy retired from magic & took
up another trade cuz this friend of mine
from the 3rd grade asked to be made white
on the spot

what cd any self-respectin colored american magician
do wit such a outlandish request/  cept
put all them razzamatazz hocus pocus zippity-do-dah
thingamajigs away   cuz
colored chirren believin in magic
waz becomin politically dangerous for the race
& waznt nobody gonna be made white
on the spot             just
from a clap of my daddy's hands

& the reason i'm so peculiar's
cuz i been studyin up on my daddy's technique
& everythin i do is magic these days
& it's very colored
very now you see it/   now you
dont mess wit me
                            i come from a family of retired
sorcerers/  active houngans & pennyante fortune tellers
wit 41 million spirits critturs & celestial bodies
on our side
                           i'll listen to yr problems
                           help wit yr career   yr lover   yr wanderin spouse
                           make yr grandma's stay in heaven more gratifyin
                           ease yr mother thru menopause & show yr son
                           how to clean his room

YES YES YES                   3 wishes is all you get
            scarlet ribbons for yr hair
                  benwa balls via hong kong
                        a miniature of machu picchu

all things are possible
but aint no colored magician in her right mind
gonna make you   white
               i mean
                        this is blk magic
you lookin at
                          & i'm fixin you up good/ fixin you up good n colored
& you gonna be colored all yr life
& you gonna love it/ bein colored/ all yr life/ colored & love it
love it/ bein colored/

Written by Ntozake Shange

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