The lady in orange says that ever since she realized that someone who could call a “colored girl an evil woman a bitch or a nag,” (56) she has tried not to be that person. She tries to avoid bitterness and instead brought you (a man, most likely) joy and received joy in return. She felt like the relationship was real and honest, and she danced like nothing could hurt her. Then, "you" broke her heart by going back to your ex-girlfriend. She tried to find comfort in the arms of another but could not get over "you." She felt like she had died somehow, and her face was wet with tears because she had always told herself that "colored girls had no right to sorrow." When she was with you, she could kick "sorrow to the curb," although she now knows that she did that for herself. She could not stand being “sorry & colored at the same time / it’s so redundant in the modern world” (57).
The lady in purple chose to immerse herself in music, dancing with men who did not speak English so there was no way to understand them. Then "you" came in, calling yourself “the baddest muthafuckah” (58), and she realized that you were the man she had been waiting for. She gave "you" everything: her music, her dance, and her scars. She does not have many tricks, all she has are poems, big thighs, little breasts, and a lot of love. She wants "you" to take that love and love her just the way she is, "a colored girl." She is tired of "danc[ing] wit ghosts" and is no longer "symmetrical & impervious to pain" (58).
The lady in blue exclaims that they all deal with so much emotion that it might be easier to pretend to be white. This way, everything would be “dry & abstract wit no rhythm & no /reelin for sheer sensual pleasure” (58). They should try to control their feelings. Tonight, she proclaims, she will make herself come by thought alone. Then she decides that masturbation feels too empty, and confesses that she needs to be loved. She does not have the "audacity" (59) to ask where you are and does not even know who “you” are.
The lady in yellow claims to have lost touch with reality. She used to think that she was immune to emotional pain, but she is not. Her music and her dance were not enough for "you," even though that was all she had. She says "bein alive & bein a woman & bein colored is a metaphysical / dilemma / i haven't conquered yet" (59). Her love is too delicate to have it thrown back in her face.
The other women come in on this last line and each repeat, "my love is too...delicate/beautiful/sanctified/magic/saturday nite/complicated/music to have thrown back in my face." Their dancing and chanting slowly unifies and they repeat the above words as the dance becomes more and more intense.
Shange chose to title these provocative, self-empowering pieces as "no more love poems." Each lady's poem has similar themes, such as the desire for love and understanding, self-actualization, race, and suffering. Each of the four women are also vulnerable and open as they discuss their desire for love and embrace the very real possibility of rejection. In addition, each lady addresses her poem to "you," which can double for either a man or in a broader sense, society. These poems, in essence, are an open-hearted revelation to the audience.
In the first "no more" love poem, the lady in orange says she has earnestly tried not to behave like an "evil woman," a "bitch, or a nag," all terms that she has commonly heard ascribed to "colored girls." Her plan to transcend bitterness succeeds when she finds joy with a man, but he breaks her heart when he leaves her for an ex-girlfriend. She tries to push away her sorrow because she cannot stand being “sorry & colored at the same time / it’s so redundant in the modern world” (57). Her devotion to the man and determination to avoid the negative labels ultimately reveal a life filled with artificial joy. By the end of the poem, she has understood that creating a facade of perfection will not ward off heartbreak and pain.
In the second "no more" love poem, the lady in purple is similarly aloof from her emotional needs as she states her preference to dance with a man who does not speak her language so she will not get hurt. This is a symbol for a sexual relationship that lacks depth (similar to trysts in "one"). The lady in purple finally opens her heart to a man who is confident and bold. However, with the love comes vulnerability and pain. The lady in purple desperately wants this man to love her for who she is, flaws and all. She is ready for real love and is not content to just "dance wit ghosts" anymore. She is no longer "impervious to pain." Although her pleas seem desperate, she is actually overcoming her fear to ask for what she wants. She understands that true love is accompanied by true pain, but she is ready to give him everything.
In the third "no more" love poem, the lady in blue explores the racial implications of being in love. She addresses the negative stereotypes about "colored girls" that the other ladies have struggled against and implies that white people "make everything dry." She believes that life is easier for them because they hold more social power. "We're right in the middle of it," she observes ("it" meaning a world governed by a class divide.) Here, the lady in blue implies certain innate differences between black and white women, but this is clearly a form of protection on her part. She believes that by being white, she could "think [her] way outta feelin," but admits at the end that she does not really know what she is looking for. She realizes that all the analysis will not explain away the fact that she "need[s] to be loved."
Meanwhile, the lady in yellow claims to have lost touch with reality while nursing a broken heart. She is overwhelmed by the task of "bein alive & bein a woman & bein colored," which she describes as "a metaphysical / dilemma/i haven't conquered yet" (59). Unlike the lady in blue, she cannot see any easy solution to the struggles she faces, and yet she does not blame the patriarchal, racially-charged society she lives in. She acknowledges that "being alive" is part of her identity just as much as being a "woman & being colored." Instead, she reflects on the commonality of humanity, explaining that her "spirit is too ancient to understand the separation of soul & gender." By saying this, the lady in yellow reflects on the fact that the societal divide between men and women, black and white, is entirely man-made, and that as human beings, we all share the same spirit.
The four end on an affirmative note, with all of the women realizing how valuable their love is. They take turns saying their love is too beautiful, too sanctified, too magic, too Saturday nite, too complicated, too music to have thrown back in their faces. They all dance and chant together, coming together in a tight circle of sisterhood to weather the "metaphysical dilemma" of being a "colored girl." This unity shows that all four women represent different sides of what it means to be a black woman in America. Ultimately, as the words turn into chanting and dancing, these scenes also represent the commonality of humanity beyond words, race, and gender.