Park Bar Tango
Is it the dancer or the dance?
Is it the pressure of romance
When cheek to cheek and heart to heart,
Instead of hugging, pull apart?
Is it the need that can’t be borne --
The memory of what was torn --
That makes the dancer twirl and steer
Away from love and into fear?
“You like my drink?” she asks, and he
Replies, “It tastes like salt to me.”
So sugar on the coated rim
Dissolves before it gets to him.
The clock is striking one AM.
She plucks the cherry from the stem.
His eyes are angry, blue and dark.
She disappears into the park.
And both alone they make their way
From night to dawn, from dark to day --
Two halves of something like a dance
Undone and blown apart by chance.
Like leaves in a September wind,
Their flicking movements will be twinned
Till back and forth, their souls are blown
Into a dance that is their own.
And darting up and swooping low,
The nearness teasing as they go,
They leave behind their lost ballet
And join the mortal roundelay
Where nothing’s right if not the touch
Of something stronger than a crutch --
A kiss that’s more than lips and tongue;
A song more than the tune that’s sung;
A joining, something like a dance
That moves in purpose, not a trance,
And will not rest after it’s done
Till he and she and it are one.
And here I sit, wet at the knees
An acorn in a world of trees,
A fifth wheel on a street of cars,
A temperance man who writes in bars,
Thinking of how things fall apart
The minute someone shows his heart --
As if our reflexes are tuned
Not to embrace, but make a wound.
Why does there have to be so much
Hard work each time we try to touch?
Is it our fault, or can it be
The nature of reality?
A break that’s tied to mind and flesh:
We touch, and yet the mortal mesh
We live in, thwarts our urge to seize --
Between our atoms, lies the breeze.
No matter how we try or strive
To touch each other while alive,
The gap between our atoms means
We only touch the inbetweens,
For all that’s solid will not give.
This is the law with which we live:
Each time we kiss, all that can be
Between us is the boundary.
copyright 2009 Matthew J Wells