Lyric Fire: Poetry Re-Purposed – Cinema Series! – Waiting to Exhale – Just For The Night

I swore I wouldn’t start any more new series until 2012, but I can’t help myself! Last year I created the Poetic Art Pairing Project where I asked artists to submit selected pieces of their collections so I could create poetry using their works as inspiration. Now I’d like to introduce the Poetry Re-Purposed – Cinema Series Project where I will take a scene, line of dialogue or piece of art from a promotional poster from a film and create a poem based off of it.

To start us off, I am choosing one of my favorite scenes from the film, Waiting to Exhale, which tells the tale of four African-American women whose friendships see them through trying times in their personal lives and relationships with men. This film will always live with me for many reasons, but one of the scenes that really stuck with me was the one with Bernadine (Angela Bassett) and James (Wesley Snipes). Bernadine had discovered that her husband was having an affair with a white woman and in a rage burns up his expensive clothing and sets his car on fire! She goes on a trip and meets a quiet gentle man in a bar and strikes up a conversation with him. He has a wife who is ill and isn’t meeting his physical needs. As they talk they make a connection and realize they want to spend the evening together. Here is the scene advanced to where they are in the hotel room.



This clip doesn’t feature the later part of the scene which shows the couple fully clothed and spooning on the bed as the music swells. The viewer is left wondering did they make love or just hold each other for the night? What I was left with was a poetic moment in which I’m entitling:


Just For The Night


miles and space collide like jazz notes in a smoky bar

they loop, turn and twist and flatline bringing us here

dropped off like commuters at the train station

heads and hearts are buzzing replaying the yesterdays of our forevers

we need to drown out the noise with liquid salvation

it goes down easy, but the sounds of our tumultuous lives still trumpet loudly in our souls

a look and a glance gives us a chance to escape our head space

smooth, clear brown skin, lips curled into a smile

welcome into my world please

introduce me to your now

i so want to be your now

tell me your troubles

let my soulful eyes be the remedy

your voice tenders the air around me

makes me feel safe

nothing i’ve ever experienced matters right now

i’m taking this for me

forget the legalities of a ring not yet removed

i need to feel loved and needed

let me do the same for you

sink down into my warmth

let it surround you

protect you from the hardships of your day, your week, your life

what’s an hour or two of supreme connection with another?

do i not breathe and bleed?

should i not have happiness?

if not only for just a night?

this creature was sent to me on a barstool looking like the queen of ages

my queen for the night

my king wears not a crown, but a business suit

as he holds me close i smell his aftershave, cologne, desperation and hunger

i long to linger and live within the confines of his Brooks Brothers armor

my fingers trace his cuff-links

they are hard beneath my fingers

as hard as he is against my back

just for the night i need to know that i’m the architect of the steel against me

no one will enter his thoughts but me

i rule this room

this bed

this moment

if only just for tonight

i found love without a limit

a song with no ending

i am all that needs to be

and he is all i need to see

our meeting was not an accident

it was destined

to give us this pleasure

as payment for our punishment

thank you universe

you have given me much

if only to hold it just for the night

© 2011 – 2014, TamekaMullins. All rights reserved.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Comments (14 Responses)

  1. Well…v creaive Tam…churning out a beautiful poetry out f a scene from a movie…Kudos!!

  2. Jessica says:

    Loved it! Great theme and imagery.

  3. Lynn says:

    Wow! This is really wonderful.

  4. your poetic mind have captured the emotional scenes in words so perfect.

  5. Adriene says:

    Love this poem, Tameka. This is one of the most memorable scenes in the movie for me (next the the car burning!). I’ve always interpreted it that, yes, the sexual chemistry was there, but even more than that, they were looking for understanding and a human connection on a soul level.

  6. leah says:

    Tameka, are you sure you weren’t the woman in this movie…you got right into the middle of it all. The desperation, loneliness, insecurities, and sensuality. Your poem brought this scene to a different level where I felt what they were feeling and totally understood their desires.
    Well done sweet poet. You’re amazing!

  7. @Mani! – Thanks dear! I had fun with this one!
    @Jessica – Nice to see you in here! Thank you!
    @Lynn – Yay, glad you liked it.
    @Sancheeta – Awww, thanks my dear!
    @Sweepy – I know! There were so many memorable scenes but this one has so much meaning. Wesley and Angela were pitch perfect here. They just draw you in. Thanks BTW! I get so excited talking about films! 🙂
    @Leah Wow, that comment made my day! I’m humbled and honored! Thank you!

  8. Andy says:

    Hello Tameka.
    I can watch Waiting To Exhale & listen to the soundtrack time & time again & never tire of it.
    I love what you did with your idea. This is divine! Your poetic mind knows no bounds.
    Thank you for sharing & for your lovely comments on so many of my posts. You’re most kind.
    For ref:

  9. You are a very special woman Tameka,and your posts show them all…beautiful poetry….

  10. @Alpana – Thanks lady! That is so sweet! 🙂
    @Andy – I feel the same! This movie gives me life! It will always have a place in my heart. Thanks for your presence on my blog this year dear. Your insights are always so full and generous. Blessings!

  11. WoW! I found your poem inspired and heartwrenching. Gritty, not pretty. The stuff that romance and tragedy are made of.
    Thank you, Tameka, for all that you are! Very talented lady!!

  12. Thanks Linda! Love and connections aren’t always pretty that is for sure. So glad to have your presence here this year!

  13. melissa says:

    Oh Tameka love, I’m very glad I read this post from you. I found a very understanding and pure heart from you.
    I was listening to music last night thinking of an intimate friend whom I’ve shared life with after my heartbreak. And it’s so similar to this except that his wife wasn’t dying but was incapable of …it’s like listening to him in this video…
    And he found solace just by talking it out with me.
    What I find so pure in your post is I felt comfortable sharing it with you.
    Well, I’ll leave this comment poetically too, lol. And leave people to their own judgment.
    You are so talented and creative but most of all genuine and so human. Thank you so much :*

  14. Melissa,I’m honored that you would share such “poetic” thoughts with me. Isn’t it haunting to read something that we feel most certainly must have been ripped right from own own hearts and lives? That’s why art is so important. Poetry, music, film, theatre. They are the mirrors held up to our own lives. Sometimes the art is exaggerated and sometimes life is as much so! Bless you and thank you for being an important part of Lyric Fire this year. So glad we’re friend’s dear lady.

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