Hitting the High Notes

Steve Smith


Doo Wop 1961

At fifteen years old, running out the front door and cursing my father
again, promising never to come back, I wondered if I was as bad
as he said I was. I climbed the steep hill and rocks below
Palisades Amusement Park, crawled under the bandstand
then ran up the aisle and blended into the crowd of fans to watch
my favorite Doo Wop groups up on stage – “The Flamingos”
“The Five Satins” “ The Turbans” “The Cadillacs”-
beaming young black men, their conked hair slick with brilliantine
trying hard to please their adoring young fans. The singers were
resplendent in purple and white, hot pink, canary yellow and glittering
periwinkle tuxedoes, hips grooving as they did a syncopated stroll,
their gospel honed falsettos and deep basso harmonies like salvation
lifting me out of my gloom, showing me how I’d like to feel, look
and sound. And in my mind I saw myself gliding across a stage
microphone in hand, my blonde pompadour  polished back
with pomade, a pronounced roll to my gait, my father almost forgotten
as the audience clapped and cheered me doing the Hand Jive and the Madison
and hitting the soaring  high and low notes, the Doo Wop she Doo be Doo be Doo Wops.



About the author:

Steve Smith is a Poet/Artist from Pennington N.J. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts, he is retired Theatrical Scenery Painter.

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