Monday, April 13, 2015

Day 12.5: Middle School Dance


Middle School Dance

The masses line the walls,
haphazard skyline of growth spurts
and late bloomers.

Mouths yell through braces,
modulate to just-audible
over pounding bass.

A few know the moves—
YouTube-studied shuffle-lurches,
robot brigade for every song.

Dozens just move:
arms wave, legs shift,
feet sink in cement,

while heads turn and gawk,
watch The Guy Who Doesn’t Get It
leap, spin, dip, whoop,

launch across the room
eyes wide and glazed,
skin aglow, hair shiny.

He frenzies through his world
till the Slow Song arrives;
he slips, invisible, to the side

while the pretty ones
pair for the ark, step out,
lean left to right, whisper.
I was struck last weekend watching kids at play.  Many ages were involved, and I couldn't help but notice which were trying to figure out how to act and which were just winging it. 
The place it all converges is pre-adolescence, and I used the middle school dance as a metaphor for this.  I recall great trepidation going into these events, mostly because I had no idea what I was supposed to do.  I always envied those who either seemed to know what to do or seemed not to care at all.  And as a quasi-grownup, I find at times that I still do.
The goal was to create a visual look and audible sense of the scene, allowing parallels to emerge through the poem.  The ark reference was a conscious choice, both in terms of the image and the connotation of selection.  And the stanzas are locked in at three lines each, but surge and draw back for both the visual effect and the implication of chaos within the rigid structure.

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