©1999-2001 Josephine Baker Estate c/o CMG Worldwide

Josephine Baker

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Josephine Baker in Her Dressing Room
at the Folies Bergeres, 1927

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Well, Lila Harris! Aint seen you
since Forty-third Street!
What brings you to La France, honey?
My number's on in a minute but we can yak a little
while I put on my face.

'Member how they stuck me at the tail
of that longlong chorus line in New York?
Last sure was first that time, wunnit?
I just made such a spectacle a myself,
slippin my hips all over an crossin my eyes
till they practically switched places.
I needed to steal that show
badder than a empty larder needs a stick a butter
cause there wunt no way
I was gon back to wipin floors in Saint Louis no mam.

Used to dry those floors
by wrappin a rag round each foot
an dancin em dry!
Started there eight years old,
peelin an gratin an rollin out crusts.

Know what they call me here?
La Bakaire-like I was the Eiffel Tower or somethin.
And see these? One days fan mail:
hundred seventeen love letters
and eight men askin all seal-voo-play
can they have my hand.

Stroke this sable.
I aint eatin no more scraps.
Best thing I ever did was jump that boat an go
leavin no forwardin address
for Mr. Jim Crow. I wonder
could this someday happen
in Saint Louis?

I see you lookin
at my banana skirt with the rhinestones.
If the no blouse jungle routine is what I gotta do
to dance, thats what they gon get
but lemme tell you I watch
them boys come bobbin into the club
with one leg left in the War now
that there was a jungle
and it wunt no Africa.

You like any a those shawls hangin up, Lila,
you just help yourself,
cause I got more at home
than I could wear on a nippy night
in Greenland.

Go ahead
and take in the show
from the wings.
I can make em laugh, I can get em hot,
and when they on the second bottle
of the bubbly stuff I sneak up
an croon somethin that makes em cry in French.
Oh, you gon see a shimmy, girl,
like nobody done since they wrote the Bible.

Copyright © Zack Rogow

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