I came up with a title for an essay using “word dancing” and a line from Stanley Kunitz that goes, in the Dangerous Traffic Between Self and the Universe. I surprised myself right there. I looked to see what Marvin Bell had to say about “word dancing.” It goes like this: “When poems are written well enough, when they are interesting enough, they’re like a dance…” I’m thinking I want to make the dangerous dance beautiful, so I add SEQUINS, with help from Dorianne Laux. “I write to be one sequin among the shimmering others, hanging by a thread from the evening gown of the world.” Lets have more words with sequins. Picture this from Mark Doty: “ I do my tap routine surrounded by five little girls in sequined outfits like bathing suits dipped in glitter.” Go Mark! From “Firebird: A Memoir.” Donald Justice goes beyond bathing suits and brings in a transvestite. “Some nights out on the dock/…There comes the sound/ of bare feet dancing/which is Mr. Kehoe,/lindying solo,/whirling, dipping/ in his long skirt that swells and billows,/ turquoise and pink,/ Mr. Kehoe in sequins…” from “A Chapter in the Life of Mr. Kehoe, Fisherman.” Imagine! Dorianne, Mark Doty and Donald Justice – all in poetry’s shimmer.
Here is some wisdom on dancing in traffic:
King David, flushed with wine, is dancing before the ark;
the virgins are whispering to each other
and the elders are pursing their lips but the king knows the Lord delights
in the sight of a valorous man/ dancing in the pride of life... Irving Layton: “A Wild Peculiar Joy.“It isn’t easy thumbing through books by my favorite poets for a word, but here are two I found.
“…the moon pocked to distribute more or less/ indwelling alloys of its dim and shine/ by nip and tuck,/ by chance’s dance of laws.” Heather McHugh: “In Praise of Pain.”
“…like a wave about to break across dance floors/ they still dream of, disguised as bay and meadows.” Wm. Matthews: “What a Little Moonlight Can Do.”
“Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin/ Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in /Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove /Dance me to the end of love /Dance me to the end of love…” Leonard Cohen: “Dance Me To The End of Love.” Now that we’ve made it through “the panic,” with Leonard’s soothing voice, we can stop dancing. In traffic. Dangerous traffic. Put the red shoes away.
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