Saturday, November 15, 2014

Three Dance Poems—the first is brand-spanking new.

Recklessly Twenty-One

Full out one more time.
Fast. Eat the space 100 times.
Tilt. Torso reach down and side,
leg lift high, higher, highest to right 
flip your body, fast. Now lunge.Do it again.
Do it once more. Once more. Once more.
Splat. Stars. Blood. Ambulance. Blurred ER.
The oral surgeon looks like a young Max Von Sydow. 
He investigates, stings me, forces open my bleeding mouth.
How many hours in a spotlit dentist’s chair in the dim cave of that OR?
No one else helps us. We are alone and I am in love with him before 
he’s finishes wiring every loosey goosey tooth. He’s more gentle, even 
with glinting steel, than I ever imagined any man could be, and, once I’m 
good and numb, I forgive him everything, unaware that the next day I’ll face 
the world with Leslie Caron lips, chipmonk cheeks, metal criss-crossing 
broken teeth, and not yet recovered from my reckless break-up with Jim.

Bare Feet on a Tile Floor

Bob Dylan and I are growing old together.  
These days I rock to tunes in the Florida room. 
I walk with a cane, dance without it.  A mystery!
My dog worries as I whirl and watches from the safe couch. 

Once I wore pointe shoes. Wore them to death!
I’d wait until my slippers were useless, then take
the subway to Hell’s Kitchen. The old man at Freed’s
would fuss over the fit and I’d hand over dollars. 

No human audience for my dance needed now.
Hips swish with guitars, my feet, drums, and my head, 
arms take the melody in my return to the high desert, 
to my company of barefoot dancers. On late Sunday
afternoons, costumed in loose white pants, skimpy 
tank tops and Panama hats, we performed 
for Albuquerque’s brown and white families in the city’s parks.

“Hot chili peppers in the blistering sun” sang Bob
as we circled with partners then all together across hot 
green spaces, covering ground fast, with strong young legs, 
supple torsos. During the verses we’d each solo, while the others 
reclined on the grass, hats over their hearts. Laura twirled her lament, 
Robert shot his enemy with a finger gun, fierce and convincing,
Randy escaped in great leaps from the Sheriff’s posse, I bent 
back, face to the sunset, leg extended, hands folded in prayer.

Soon after the company broke up, the first swath of AIDS 
cut down Randy and Robert. One had his lover nearby, 
the other, disowned by his family, died broke and alone 
in Long Beach, California.  Golden Linda, my drinking buddy,
my roomate on tour, died young, too. She kept on with Cutty Sark, 
fine wine, finally cheap vodka until cirrhosis got her.  We touch 
again when I dance to Dylan on the radio. He carries us all along.

published by Mojave River Review, 2014

Alice Turns Adam Down

"So, you see, you are simply the wrong partner
for this part of the dance. I'd thought 
someone in a blue shirt, with a side part 
in his blond hair, and your hair is red. 
So even if you changed your shirt to a blue,  
I wouldn't, simply couldn't, choose you.

Dance with someone else, why don't you?
You could dance with the woman over there 
wearing that very long string of pearls.
Or how about that woman in the long red dress. 
Do you like long dresses? Or someone else?

Oh. You often wear blue shirts, do you? 
You don't care for long dresses or pearls? 
You like my green eyes and so choose me? 
But that doesn't matter, to me, you see. 
You are simply the wrong partner for this part of the dance.”

Published in my collection, “One Day Tells its Tale to Another,” 2013