Our Dance, #215

I’m not sure who started
our silly little shuffle,
the dancing, the sweet
and tender lighting
of the ballroom we’ve been
twirling each other
around in. Was it my fault
that I spun you, my fault
for flirting, trying to make
something live, make
you laugh at least once
in a long day, once
an hour, to titter
and flitter about,
chortle at some
insignificant and inane
story or antic better
played out on film, better
left in a hollywood comedy?

It wasn’t a waltz
we were dancing
mambo, rumba, samba,
nothing taught by parents.
More like a two step,
a high school friday,
stiff and with less hips.

In all my meaningless sketches
I’ve never been one to dance,
to turn my body into
a tool of rhythm, though
you don’t believe it,
swear on your mother’s
grave you have seen me
in my weak moments
twisting in the wind.
But around you
can I be blamed for two
timing the music, for two
stepping around the issue,
the idea of you, dipping
across the wide open
room, around the circle
to land square on the square
in the center of the floor
in front of you.
When you weren’t looking
you didn’t see
all the sidestepping,
the tap dancing
and pirouettes
I ended up turning
and tapping
behind your back,
and in my weak moments
the ways I stare
blankly for half a second
at the tan of your neck
and the left turn
just below the wisps
and feather
of your hair, how
that curve bends and
calls to something deep
yet unnamed, something
pitiful in me.
I tell you now

It wasn’t a waltz
or a tango,
mambo, rumba, samba.
Something a bit more subdued,
more like a two step
with my two left feet,
stiff and with less hips.

In my own mind
I’m not sure what moves
to the left and right, what moves
we have left, what dance floor
or squared circle
we could inhabit, seeing
that due to construction
the space has been closed
off, condemned, abandoned
for years, the walls
and the moldings
stripped down and bare
the wires ripped out
and the electricity,
in grave danger,
arching from each outlet
out my two eyelids
into the empty night,
out onto the sidewalk
and onto the cold brick.
Our little bingo hall
has no past,
no lick of history,
it has not a future,
with not grow up
and so we can not,
in good conscience
meet here.
Did I leave too early,
demolish whatever
chance or odd hope
we may have had
of moving forward
in finding a place,
some empty and quaint barn,
an old skating rink,
any floor
on which to play our music?
In my best moments
could I? Should I,
even in bad conscience,
tear down the condos
and strip malls
of a life I’ve built up
on top of and in place
of that grand
and much celebrated
old palace? Would we,
in a moment of weakness
ever want to go back?
You know too,

it wasn’t a waltz,
or the Hully Gully,
mambo, rumba, samba.
No, we side stepped it,
more of a two step,
one and two and three,
stiff and with less hips.

Because I know you
I will see you
like a portrait
everyday in front of me
and in your absences
in my mind’s eye,
that perfect first date
held in a place where
there are no ties,
where I hope
and fantasize, and hope
somehow I could tell you
a hint of imagery
something of my feelings
the wet paint of my canvas
and not risk your scorn,
or worse
your candor. My hands
feel feeble around you,
not the great force
of literature
and nature, they roll
over and play dead,
roll over every inch
of your aura
of your body,
akin to your body,
slaves to nature
and their own instinct,
fall over every
waterfall of creation,
every inch of your body.
Tell me in a code,
would it be right
though I know the ending
to continue to dance
around this bingo hall
with half of you,
less than that,
with the idea of you?
Do I violate some pact?
Is it of any use,
worthy, poetic or psychotic
to focus so much
of my being
on the nape of your neck,
the curve of your spine
and what images,
what wonderful images
I paint there?
Honestly,
to what end
do you do this dancing?

It wasn’t a waltz
when I turned you
mambo, rumba, samba.
An awkward gait,
more of a two step
into the crazy,
stiff and with less hips.

I know how the dance ends,
I will settle, as I,
in my self-defeating way
have always settled
for the reproduction,
the inaccurate
and incomplete
portrait of you,
the Wal-Mart knock-off,
the cheap imitation,
bargain basement single
covered by a local band,
midi file,
elevator musak
lip synced to
synth version of my angst,
my adoration
and my dedication.
In truth
what more can one
expect and be expected
to live with, if
we are to continue, neither
standing still nor moving?

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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