Poem: Dancing on One Leg


Dancing on One Leg

Marvin Gaye on the stereo.
Second cup of coffee.
Snow outside. Radiators blaring within.
Monday at the diner

and your mind is a whirlwind.
Things to do. Things to feel.
Things to release quietly.
In public and in private.

Your mother told you that when you began to talk
you used full paragraphs,
a non-stop state of consciousness
that would awe James Joyce on his best night.

That stopped when your sisters were born.
You went strangely quiet and have stayed that way
ever since.

Your father made feelings unsafe.
Alcohol and anger were powerful deterrents.
Divorce nearly broke you.
Did break you in fact.
Emotions, you learned are dangerous.
They can be turned against you,
and leave nasty wounds that heal slowly
if they heal at all.

The past decade and a half have been a rebuilding.
A reclaiming of soul and spirit.
A rebuilding, sometimes on ancient foundations,
sometimes a Dali-like reinvention.

You think in snippets now.
and that bleeds into your poetry.
All the rules of language you know so well,
beat into you by the best professors,
have been tossed aside.

You write from the gut now,
less polish, more pain.
Less polish, more honesty than polite rules allow.

You paint from the same place,
colors and lines that make no sense,
but to some, wrench out their own emotions
and lay them out in red, blue and yellow,
primal, not primary colors.
The rules learned and tossed out
in favor of oil tinged rants and dances.

It is not a journey I would wish on anyone,
but it is mine and at nearly sixty-five,
I embrace it. What would I be without it?
Some else? Fake? Forget that.

Better to simply be
and let the lovers and haters fall into place.
You have lived alone a long time.
It is a comfortable place.

And you have lived these past few years
in a place of love.
A better place.

You have learned you can survive both.
That you can dance with one leg,
that God is wild, unpredictable and good,
and so are you.
God’s own image, defiled and made holy
again and again.

About this poem

This one just spilled out after my earlier poem this morning unplugged the logjam. Not to mention my third cup of coffee. Some people need alcohol to loosen their tounges. Me? I need coffee.

I do mangle the language a lot when I write. Particularly poetry. Grammerly cusses at me every morning. But for me, fragments work. A whole can be made of them. Kind of the story of my life. And not a bad thing at all.

Be well, Travel wisely. You never know what catastrophe will propel you to heaven.



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