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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Toe Tappin’

By: Michael B. Carroll Jr.

Heel-to-toe, he taps to the harmonics of reverberating bounces and swish-swooshing tempos, and to the serenades of sirens outside his window. He dances the Dig Toe Step to beer can-crushing- concertos and the clattering of formidable fists. Boom-boom-klatt, he’s dancin’ and toe-tappin’. He dances to the bellowing vibrato of their marital Hip-Hopera. Clickety-clackin’ his toe-tappin’ feet to syncopated hymns of beloved acrimony. As if lightning he moves with the arpeggios of metal capsules that ricochet off the alley way walls. Klatt-klatt-boom, his feet stop to the recession of chinking coins and the rustling of C-notes. 1,2,1,2-step, he shuffles to the coda of the ghetto’s song. Boom-boom-klatt, he’s dancin’ and toe-tappin’. Boom-boom-klatt, he’s dancin’ and toe-tappin’.


Michael B. Carroll Jr. is a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Professional Studies. He is a native of Philadelphia, PA and has previously published creative work in The Esthetic Apostle Literary Magazine. He currently works in hospitality, while in pursuit of a life-changing career in medicine. "I wrote “Toe Tappin” earlier this year with the intention of including it in my forthcoming chapbook titled, “Songs of an Indomitable Spirit – a Poetic LP.” It was the second poem I had ever written. I wrote the piece in about 30 minutes as the words just came to me as if I were writing the lyrics to a song. It was very important to me that I create a piece that embodied the essence of what my chapbook will stand for, which is unfaltering perseverance. What is more, I wanted to develop a relatable piece that would focus on the topic of urban struggle, while using the musical art form of jazz as the aesthetic blueprint for creating the poem’s motif. “Toe Tappin” tells the story of a young African American boy whose spirit is uncrushable in spite of having to experience (and witness) innumerable challenges, such as alcoholism, economic depression, violence, and familial feuds. In the poem, I use the creative art form of tap dance as a metaphor for describing one’s unwavering sense of inner-strength. One of my favorite lines from the poem is: 1,2,1,2-step, he shuffles to the coda of the ghetto’s song. That line is so important, as it shows how his determination to overcome such adversity is tightly-bound to his faith in knowing that no obstacle is insurmountable, and that the end of struggle would soon come. I hope you all enjoy this piece just as much as I enjoyed writing it. "


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