Vintage photos and performance by Madeline “Sahji” Jackson.
A performance by Princess D’Orsay .
I’m so wet, is what she said to herself under her breath,
While with her eyes closed, she moaned and touched herself.
It was a previous event that she was so ecstatic to recollect.
On a stormy Friday, early in the afternoon is when they met,
And by the twilight of the evening, she was screaming
With her hands behind her back, drenched in euphotic sweat.
Recently, mid–twentieth century Black burlesque has piqued my interest. I am fascinated with the night life of the time period, particularly — the rich cultural demographic of Harlem, Manhattan, New York. I view the women of the burlesque art form as pioneers of fearless feminine sexual expression; Black women, in particular, because of the overt racial discrimination and stereotypes of the era. In my brief viewing of films of the era, I have taken notice of the intricacies in the performances, and the layers of skill intertwined throughout the dances are quite captivating. If I may say, I have had a few interesting conversations about the comparability of burlesque performers and so called “strippers” of the modern day era; I think the most highlighted point referenced in all three dialogues, is that stripping is an evolution of burlesque, (a theory which I reject) which in turn caters to a modern audience who would be dismayed and dissatisfied at the prospect of women dancing in only partial nudity. In my opinion, burlesque and stripping have certain similarities, but they are largely incomparable and should be seen as two completely separate entities. I consider burlesque, circa 1950’s an art form in a theatrical setting, and I consider stripping, pornographic adult entertainment in a setting of monetary exchange for services rendered. There are indeed many skilled strippers who perform wonderfully and have mastered incredible dance routines, though I know patrons of strip clubs might not particularly care about the skill involved as much as the removal of clothes in those specific settings. I have not yet extensively researched burlesque, but I have found that its origin was in England, circa late 1830’s in the Victorian era.
Polished toes, peek through
holes in black stilettos.
She accepts compliments cheerfully
when they say her style is sexy,
but she already knows.
An ankle bracelet and fresh pedicure
compliment the heels she adorns;
they are not brand new
but comfortable and lightly worn.
In a sundress, she causes many heads to turn;
every other week, her toes are displayed
with a magnificent new color.
With confidence and fire,
she rules the summer;
in flats she is beautiful,
but in heels, she is like no other.
In the heat of passion, they lock eyes like nothing else matters.
She holds onto him, lost in the euphoria of flowing eroticism;
Straddling him on a wooden chair, she takes control,
pacing every sensual movement on the tips of her toes.
He pulls her into him, kissing her passionately,
and finding every secret intricacy in her erogenous zones;
he is rewarded with the wildness of her lust and the echoes of her moans.
She purposely teases herself with every thrust, fast and then slow,
wanting the pleasure to last forever — not wanting to let go.
At the height of her euphoria she is beautiful; her nails dig into him,
and he is intoxicated by the pleasure of the feeling
and the lascivious words of her whispering.
Amatory ecstasy totally takes over;
her moans louder, his thrusts deeper.
Tightly, he holds her, caught in the
movements of her rapture.
She screams loudly, falling into him
uncontrollably, and then it’s over.
He looks at her with longing,
because she is his lover,
and he loves her.
She meditates in darkness
Bathed in feminine softness
Bearing the contours of a sensual goddess
The aesthetic mystery of her body
is just the surface
Her soul is beautiful and perfect in its purpose
Her voice is like many peaceful streams
and summer sunlight glistening on the surface
of calm rivers
Colors of blue variations enter into intimate spaces.
Dark blue flows through, leaving light blue traces.
Ultramarine blue lips on a goddess, leaves the mark of a celestial kiss.
Chelsea blue, covering New York City in the warmth of spring is almost ethereal;
Midnight blue, contrasting against an ivory backdrop is beautiful.
Majorelle blue silk, brushing against soft cream colored quilts is next to sensual.
A blue sapphire shinning in its clarity is a wondrous thing of mystery;
On a golden throne, indigo stands alone, but together with ivory
It is an empyrean beauty for the eyes to see.
Navy blue and cream, should never go unseen.
Egyptian blue, approached me subtly
With white chocolate dipped strawberries
And kissed me in an erotic dream.
You who suffer, you who are misunderstood,
and you who were unloved since childhood—
gather your hearts together, for there is comfort in unity, and a shelter.
Cry no more, for the abandonment of your fathers
or for the death of your beautiful mothers,
but let the soul that is within you,
strengthen you and strengthen others.
Raise your swords ye valiant men and women,
and with your battle cry, cut through the darkness;
spare nothing, and do not be merciful,
lest the darkness recovers in the void
and comes back to attack you in your slumber.
All ye mighty generals, that conquered and died in battle
lend us your resolute hearts,
that we may raise our banners of war in silent march.
We will carry on, even in the bitter cold of winter,
until the darkness is slayed and our swords rest upon its cursed grave—
but if there is nothing left of us, ye who come after us,
with our swords and armor bury us—
but do not weep for us when our bones return to dust.
Gather up your own hearts, sharpen your swords,
and let not there be frailty in the arms that wield the bow
or in the resonance of your words.
Before warfare, test the worthiness of your armor,
and in battle, strike your enemy with violent anger,
searing even the sinew, to strike down the darkness
that would steal your happiness
and snatch the light that is within you.
Strapless stiletto heels, reveal the sensual subtly of her appeal;
Burgundy polished, pedicured feet with ankle bracelet
Make her feminine arches spectacularly undeniable.
The confidence in her walk is a slayer of men’s hearts—
And in its womanly intricacy, a thing of absolute beauty;
Without heels, she is still a goddess — but in heels,
She surpasses all, in the harnessing of her sexual prowess.
The softness of her feet, displaying the beautiful color of her toes
where they peep, is an exercise in excellence;
They match her short black sundress and flawlessly impress.
Academics try to encapsulate the mystery of her feminine essence,
Debating the ethereal nature of every slight movement in her steps.
Her sexy toe rings, in addition to everything else,
Will make your heart jump and take away your breath.