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In full swing


“Jitterbug:  a dance in which couples two-step,

        balance, and twirl in standardized

        patterns or with vigorous acrobatics.”

                                                - Webster’s Seventh

“I gots happy feet!”                                                                                                                                     - Anonymous

There’s gonna be hell up in Harlem when that cat blows the hot stuff, ready and rough, on his licorice stick, and the meter gets quick, and the kids start to jitterbuggin’ right out of their sneakers and skulls. So come on, baby, don’t you hear that beat? Don’t it make you want to move your feet? Ain’t it sweet what that Big Band’s belting! Come on, sugar, take a chance, feel the romance sliding down that slide trombone? And here we are, alone, swinging into the Lindy Hop, high on be-bop, hope it don’t ever stop.

Swing me, baby, bay, throw me over your shoulder, you get hotter as the night gets bolder. Beat me, daddy, with your rhythm stick, those blue suede shoes movin’ so quick I can hardly catch my breath, this jitterbuggin’s bound to be the death of my old lazy self.

The King of Swing? He can do anything. Make a sawhorse dance, make an old maid prance her years away, an old man boogie ‘til the break of day. Lionel on the vibes, exotic tribes of youth and youngness spinning and twirling, girls tossing and turning, burning with that snazzy beat, breaking down parental nag with that syncopated rag. Dollars to donuts, what’s the hurry? We’ll finish with a flying flurry. Have some pop, we’ll never stop this razzmatazz ‘til the flatfeet cool this red-hot jazz.

Oh, honey, I’m in love with a turtledove. She’s so light, so right, the way she swings, her body sings, “Release me from this earthly weight, it’s getting late and the band is getting better.”

Flat foot floogie, war paint and powdered down, watch her spin that gingham gown, see her jump and jive and holler as she grabs her boyfriend’s collar, oh, man, boot camp was never like this!

Dance? I can jook like it’s going out of style! I’ll go that extra mile for you, buttercup, spin you ‘round and throw you up so high you’ll never hit the floor. That drum makes me numb, makes me want to jump outta my skin, is that such a sin? Forget those stiffs in raccoon coats, the spooners in their little boats, that era’s gone, now swing’s the thing. Leave the croon to Dean and Bing.

This must be love, I never moved like this before. Everything’s spinning, I can hardly see the floor, I’m up so high, oh me, oh my, what would my folks say if they could see me this way, so free, so me, so glad to be alive in the midst of this jive and jukebox jango. Oh, baby, hold me tight, don’t let me go, this is oh so right, don’t you know, don’t you know.

In full swing, this rite of spring means everything to me. Let go, let go, the music’s never slow, hear that trumpet blow? Cool, man, cool, out of school and cutting a rug, this jitterbug’s got me talking like a chicken squawking. I feel real, I’m really free wih this tomato dancing next to me. I never knew life could be so fun!

Thumping, bumping, grinning, spinning, in full swing, won’t you wear my high school ring? I’d do anything for you. Get in step, that cat’s so hep on the stand-up bass, setting the pace, plucking those strings and doing crazy things beneath that red-hot jazz. Drum tattoo, just me and you, defying gravity, you and me, everyone can see we’re having the time of our lives. Happy feet, applying the beat, the jumpin’ jive, keeping alive the heat of the beat, the swing of the street, so sweet, so neat, so complete.


Bill Moseley

Dance Poetry
A comprehensive anthology
Edited by Alkis Raftis
Copyright 2012