Page 28 - WTP Vol. XI #5
P. 28

 Can’t tell the dancer from the dance?
I never knew what craze was in:
the Loco-Motion, Watusi, Mash Potato, Monkey, Shimmy, Swim, or Boogaloo.
Why, there I am... rustier than the tin man, but game and trying.
I evolved my own routine,
swiveled my hips as if hula hooping, then snapped my fingers, did sidesteps. Party-mates tried to follow:
“Oh, teach me that! Hey, look at this!”
For my wife, daughter,
guests and granddaughters,
I make jerky motions to the beat.
“This is called the Funky Robot,
taught to me by James McPherson (author of ‘Why I Love Country Dancing’) in Iowa,” I say.
I met Connie, a B.U. senior, at an older writer’s party. We grooved at first dance.
Living together, we swayed
on creaking floorboards
(like slow dance)
as I proposed and she accepted.
At ten I learned the box step
at Mrs. Hill’s School of Dance.
Right hand open on her rounded back. One...two, three; one...two, three. Glide, don’t step.
Once married with children. however, we rarely
danced as a couple.
Her stale smell mixed with talc. And then with girls my age, taller than me, flat-chested.
We had family occasions on her side. weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs.
She had fundraising dances
at the K through 6 school
where she taught, but besides having back problems,
I felt reserved. My dancing days were done. She danced
with other women while I watched.
At make-out parties,
we swayed, embracing,
and at proms, our chaperones insisted on a gap.
Rock and roll or
crooner’s ballads?
We studied TV’s Bandstand.
By the Eighties, “social dancing”
had become partnerless,
a stoned frenzy of aloneness together.
We were childrearing, teaching, with separate friends,
hers local parents and colleagues, mine writers I admired
In college, I never mastered jitterbug.
In grad school, however,
dances changed from Twist to Frug, to free-for-alls of Soul.
Funky Robot
DeWitt henrY

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