by Rosamond S. King


what is a star but the concentration of light and energy

before the skinny black guy with big ears and a funny name
legions followed the skinny black guy in stilettos with a single name

6     7    8     smooth back. spin


the hours
they say 10,000 hours 2 geniusize
what is the name for 100,000 hours
how many hours 2 earn the name given 2 you
and that done
work 2 live up 2 your own expectations

2     3     4     hip roll          pause          smile

practicing hours rehearsing hours repeating hours learning learning
hours playing hours spinning
into the splits and up again
hours in pain
so unnatural your own hip couldn’t handle it
and still more hip than the goo-goo/ga-ga of the moment


to give up your own name
and the millions coming to you
to be blackballed and ridiculed
– still, millions came to you
umbrellas unfurled
bodies swaying

and 1

and 1

and –

slide up and down splits kicks
instruments up and down
up and down guitar
up and down piano, drums, clavinet, bass
– and 22 more –


you earned 1,000,000 hours of fame
like a star
for hundreds of years
brilliance will burst beyond death


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Purple Rain was the first cassette Rosamond S. King, Ph.D., purchased. She is a critical and creative writer whose collection Rock|Salt|Stone is forthcoming from Nightboat Books, and whose poems have appeared in almost thirty anthologies and journals. King has memorized lyrics to dozens of Prince songs. She has also performed around the world, most recently at the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dixon Place, Movement Research @ Judson Church, and the Encuentro Festival. Her scholarly book Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination received the 2015 Caribbean Studies Association best book award.


PrinceThe Morning Papers is a collection of pieces about Prince. In April, Music lost a singer and musician, but we writers also lost a poet. Whether it was his characters, or his line by line precision and intimacy; Prince was every bit the alchemist of words as well as music. In this space writers were invited to talk about the artist, in whatever context they desired. Curated by Sharmila Chauhan.

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