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Disco Fever


Through hesitations, fits-and-starts;  turnabouts and
vacillations, I was led here nonetheless.  My life - an exercise
wheel pulled by a wagon, oblivious to halts and 'bout-faces
of my feet - dropped me under a sign commanding GET
DOWN!  and I entered the life of the discos.  'Hustle!'
whooped a loudspeaker.  'To boogie;  bestir oneself;  GET
DOWN!  make haste;  lose no time;  scramble;  make tracks;
make it snappy;  get a move on;  expedite;  rush;  bustle;
gasped at limbs braiding and unraveling with the ease of
spiraling snow.  My shoes, floodlit by the disco floor,
drew back in the dark like gophers.  I stood there for
hours, a stick figure gawking at the third dimension.
I faced my first partners through a Junglegym of
rigid arms.  Where was the escape artist to unknow me
muscle by muscle;  to vanish with me in a flurry of elbows!
'Turkey!'  boomed the loudspeaker.  'You got a mind-
body problem.  GET DOWN!  devolve a bit, dig?  Every-
thing's mellow:  So why you got that plumbline anchorin'
your coccyx to the center of the earth? And why
donchew cop some clothes that…you know…hustle!'
Scuttling my pig iron shoes;  unbolting my hat;  leaving
my coat to relive my life in samaphore, I glided back on
vast lapels.  Cuffing aside a drunk who took them for
swinging doors, I sailed into the maelstrom.  I performed
dance steps based on the bold advances and discreet re-
treats of the subtlest perfumes;  on the spread of forest
fires;  on Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle; on the
plumbing of the Versailles palace down to the streamlet
trickling from a nymph's ear.  More than one woman
asked for an X-Ray snapshot of my bones.  But I
couldn't stop now.  I moved in homage to swan-necked
explosions arching their backs on the sun;  to the part-
ner that filled the outspread arms of Jesus.  When my
step synched with the beat of the strobelights, all
other motion froxe.  the dancers stood locked in arm-
and-shoulder-holds.  A cocktail in mid-spill distended
a glistening tongue.  I had overstepped the dualities -
time-space, light-dark - a shadowboxer K.O.-ing his
shade.  The loudspeaker screamed, 'Appearing live on
our dance floor:  God-Man!  Where flesh and spirit GET
DOWN!  I'm talkin' 'bout the Unmoved Mover!  God,
man.  And who's the smartass keeps askin', how can
we know the dancer from the dance!'  'By the tie!'
someone shouted, as I felt my grip loosen on time-
dark, space-light.  'The tie!'
A bucket of slop dumped by a janitor woke me on
the extinguished disco floor.  'We operate on the old
geometry during closing hours,' he said.  'For now,
the shortest distance between two points is a straight
line.  That puddle you're lyin' in is point A.  Anyplace
past that door is point B.  Ergo, scram.'  'Yes, point
A and point B,' I muttered weakly.  'I had forgotten.'
Placing one foot forward, then the other, then the
other, I entered the day with its unpasteurized sounds,
its oafish light falling everywhere at once.

Barry Schechter

Dance Poetry
A comprehensive anthology
Edited by Alkis Raftis
Copyright 2012