Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Slow Dance by Matthew Dickman

By Matthew Dickman

More than putting another man on the moon,
more than a New Year’s resolution of yogurt and yoga,
we need the opportunity to dance
with really exquisite strangers. A slow dance
between the couch and dinning room table, at the end
of the party, while the person we love has gone
to bring the car around
because it’s begun to rain and would break their heart
if any part of us got wet. A slow dance
to bring the evening home, to knock it out of the park. Two people
rocking back and forth like a buoy. Nothing extravagant.
A little music. An empty bottle of whiskey.
It’s a little like cheating. Your head resting
on his shoulder, your breath moving up his neck.
Your hands along her spine. Her hips
unfolding like a cotton napkin
and you begin to think about how all the stars in the sky
are dead. The my body
is talking to your body slow dance. The Unchained Melody,
Stairway to Heaven, power-chord slow dance. All my life
I’ve made mistakes. Small
and cruel. I made my plans.
I never arrived. I ate my food. I drank my wine.
The slow dance doesn’t care. It’s all kindness like children
before they turn four. Like being held in the arms
of my brother. The slow dance of siblings.
Two men in the middle of the room. When I dance with him,
one of my great loves, he is absolutely human,
and when he turns to dip me
or I step on his foot because we are both leading,
I know that one of us will die first and the other will suffer.
The slow dance of what’s to come
and the slow dance of insomnia
pouring across the floor like bath water.
When the woman I’m sleeping with
stands naked in the bathroom,
brushing her teeth, the slow dance of ritual is being spit
into the sink. There is no one to save us
because there is no need to be saved.
I’ve hurt you. I’ve loved you. I’ve mowed
the front yard. When the stranger wearing a shear white dress
covered in a million beads
comes toward me like an over-sexed chandelier suddenly come to life,
I take her hand in mine. I spin her out
and bring her in. This is the almond grove
in the dark slow dance.
It is what we should be doing right now. Scraping
for joy. The haiku and honey. The orange and orangutan slow dance.


I love this guy's poetry.  I own this book and each and every poem is amazing.  And guess what?  His brother, Michael, is a poet also!  I have his book, "The End of the West" and it's also a fabulous book of poems. Imagine being able to share poetry-love with your brother?  It must be like magic....

It's sweltering-hot & clammy-humid here in the deep South.  I know, I know, I should be used to it and expect it, right?  It's like childbirth.  You forget the pain after the birth when they hand you that precious baby.  Every year, I forget the heat-pain until it hits.  The heat slaps you in the face and sucks the air from your lungs the minute you step out the door.  (Multiply the heat-pain times a hundred if you're anywhere near menopause....)  And to top it off, we're having a drought here in my part of Louisiana.  (But oh, I have some luscious, lovely, luminous tomatoes on the vines!!!) 

On that note, I'm out of here.  Stay cool and take time to smell the flowers and the tomato leaves....and if you get the chance....slow dance.




"What is one to say about June,
the time of perfect young summer,
the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months,
and with as yet no sign to remind one that its
fresh young beauty will ever fade." ~Gertrude Jekyll


Bubba said...

Your flowers and tomato leaves are the babies born of the heat-pain of your southern June.

Marion said...

Eric, I bow to your poet-heart. (I think of you when I dab my tomato-leaf perfume behind my ears each morning). Blessings!

Kelly said...

Wonderful poem, Marion!!

We have the same weather-wise. Your description of the heat is right on the mark! (and you're also right about the menopause part...)

I need to go water the tomatoes growing in the pots on my front porch. The others got a good soaking Sunday when my husband forgot and left the soaker hose on them for ages! They sure dry out fast in this weather, though.

Marion said...

Kelly, I know! My water bill may exceed my electric bill this summer (which isn't even officially here yet). LOL! But, by God, I'm gonna water those damn tomatoes I grew from seeds which are now covered in fat, green fruit! I just came in from watering and I think I'll just strip and forget about clothes for the rest of the week. LOL! Stay cool. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem. Blessings!

Phoenix said...

"There is no one to save us
because there is no need to be saved."

If I could just frame that sentence like a black and white photograph of a sunset and hang it on my heart...

Thank you, Marion, for always picking the best poems that I always need when I had no idea that I needed them. For that, you will always be my Southern Saint. :)

Susan Anderson said...

There's nothing like tomatoes right out of the ground.
And poetry.


Woman in a Window said...

This guy's hair has gotta be messy. Just hasta be. I like him, alot.

Can't imagine the heat. Couldn't survive it so well. Wearing jeans right now and feeling fine. Stay in where it's cooler, Marion, dreaming of fresh tomatoes.


Marion said...

Phoenix, my bodhisattva Calfornia-girl pal, you are too, too sweet. Isn't it amazing how a few words can feed the heart & soul. I'm happy you enjoyed the poem. Sending you love & hugs. Blessings!

Sue, right on! I can't eat tomatoes from the grocery store. They taste like plastic. I appreciate you. Blessings!

Erin, as a matter of fact, in the author's photo on back of the book his hair is toussled. LOL! Send some of your cool, Canadian air this way, please. Blessings!

Wine and Words said...

Must be all us California girls needed this one. I am crying a puddle on my desk here...don't know why, but I am incredibly moved. Moved somewhere I've never been, but wish to stay, yet knowing...I gotta go.

Love you Marion. Pass the kleenex

Marion said...

Annie, here's you a hankie. It tears me up every single time I read it. I get something different out of it with each reading. I love you. Blessings!!

Phoenix said...

Hey, you've got my T.S. Eliot poem up on your page now! When did that happen?? (That's the poem that follows me around - since you and I are so closely linked I should have figured that you'd have it up at some point!)

Do me a favor, k? Email me your mailing address to tracyclifton (at) gmail (dot) com and I will mail you a burned copy of The XX Cd :) It's the least I can do to thank you for posting gorgeous poems day after day.

* said...

Marion, you are such a poet-saint-goddess. I fill my poetry cup to the brim with each and every visit to your blog home.

Fabulous poem. I am relishing the words, wondering at them, their truths, how I would like to live my life to write as that.

thank you, thank you, thank you.

Enjoy June. Enjoy those vine ripening tomatoes...

Marion said...

I'm a bit weepy this morning after reading that poem as well. I read another friend's poetry and it hit me the same way...must be something in the water, hahaha!

Hot weather such as you describe hasn't arrived here as yet, but it will. Oh! It gets so hot here, but it's also very dry. I feel like shedding my skin when the heat arrives, just like a snake, heh!

No tomatoes yet, but my plants are flowering. I drain the well dry making sure those tomatoes grow big and juicy. They're my very favourites in the vegetable garden!!

Phoenix said...

hmmm, looks like the comment that I left yesterday got lost in the wind... wanted to say that if you email me your mailing address to cliftontracy(at)gmail(dot)com, I'll send you a copy of the CD so you don't have to keep it on your wish list :)

It's the least I can do to thank you for such gorgeous poetry day after day.

Phoenix said...

Sorry, my brain was tired... not only did I leave a similar comment twice, I gave you the wrong email address the first time! lol ::sigh::

One day I'll have my sanity back, and it will be shiny...

at any rate, I didn't get your email, probably because you sent it to the incorrect email address because that's the one I gave you. Because I'm super cool like that.

So once more with feeling, eh? Please send it to cliftontracy(at)gmail(dot)com.

Many thanks for your patience. Oy Vey.

Bubba said...

I'm glad your tomato-leaf perfume turned out. I'll bet it smells delightful. :)