A man with impeccable charm, sophistication and grace,
Fred Astaire was at once both marvelous and enchanting
As the twentieth century’s greatest dancer and master artist.
He made his sublime dancing (“hoofing”) seem effortless.
Capturing the American spirit with both panache and verve
Fred Astaire glided across some quite wonderful movie sets:
Top Hat (1935), Swing Time (1936), Shall We Dance (1937)
Done magnificently—all harken back to a different America.
This America tho’ more old fashioned was one of “can-do”
And boasted a gutsy bravado even in times great hardship.
Fred Astaire with others was a sturdy star symbol of the then
Greatest Generation that helped bring peace to a war torn world.
Fred Astaire was part of this Greatest Generation entertaining
Packed audiences and dazzling them with steps of joy and perfection.
Tho’ now gone Astaire’s past accomplishments serve as a prologue
For new generations to come and to seize opportunities for greatness.
Where are you Fred Astaire?
Gary Bateman, Copyright © All Rights Reserved, Schoeningen, Germany
(September 2, 2014)
Hot August, 1974, I was back for my second year at college,
having just settled into a new place at Anita Apartments,
right next to the guys’ apartment complex called Tanner’s.
My first night, we answered a knock at our door.
Steve Dietrich, a friend of my roommate, entered our apartment,
but my eyes went immediately to the younger man with him.
That would be his brother Joel, there for his first year at BYU.
My first thought was this: How shy he is, so reserved. . . but so adorable.
He was tall and thin and cute as the dickens.
They stayed for just a while, and by the time they left,
I’d formulated my big plan:
to get to know this boy Joel (who everyone just called Joe).
There was to be a parking lot dance that weekend,
and so I waited expectantly, hoping all week
to catch a glimpse of this boy I’d found so attractive,
but no matter how often I strolled past his apartment,
my opportunity for a “chance encounter” never occurred.
The night of the dance arrived and I was right there,
all decked out in my colorful tight top with bellbottoms,
long luscious lashes curled and pink frost lipstick applied.
When I caught sight of Joel, he was slow dancing with some girl.
A blonde with glasses, she was rather plain and smaller than me.
I was not pleased to see her with Joe, and I thought to myself:
Hmmmm, who does she think she is? I saw him first,
and he is NOT going to stay with her tonight.
As they danced, I fixed my eyes on him,
my beautiful, long-lashed, sultry green eyes.
He looked up and saw me then. I must have taken him by surprise
because I did not lower my gaze.
I wanted him to know that he was going to be mine,
so I willed him with my gaze to break away from that blonde
and come to me.
And so he did. . the rest is history.
Beside me at this moment, lying on our bed, watching TV,
is the man who today bears little resemblance to that
very young man I met 35 years ago.
I turn to him and ask, “Do you remember the VERY first time you saw me?”
He replies, “I don’t know; a parking lot dance?”
Well, at least he came close. . .
For Frank Herrera's Contest: Love Story
Which way leads to the
land of green white
Which way are we
A country the wicked
bears the rulership, and
the people sighing
A terrible thing sprouts
beneath the sun: a
Imps come to lime-light
by snuffing air from the
goose that laid the
The blind guiding the un
The weak suppressing
the strong-a terrible
Like the overthrow of the
gods at Mt. Olympus by
A country where also
thieves appear as men of
Land of green white
A land where the
enlightened ones are
peanuts given to them.
The masses are dogs that
eat the crumbs.
Which way to go you
Iliterates stand on
podium of power
bellowing orders as milk
of sorrow known as
dividends of democracy
is passed around.
The machine of progress
manned by the
"There is better
tomorrow" we hear.
Land of green white
where rule of law walk
The proles are sentenced
to adversity,and there
endured death-like trials.
Chai! Aru! People
dancing on thorns
whimpering as they
I see a new sun rising
from the horizon,hope is
rekindled as its rays
grace on hopeless bodies.
Look!! there soon be
A TRAGEDY OF PRIDE ( hubris)
In the Arctic nights the jazz born North Lights sound
with a music of their own. Fair winds ferry fragile birds--
take to the skies in search of sympathetic warmth profound
while white breathless silence magnifies each sound as it is heard
and few venture forth, like bears they dash to find a haven
where they can hide until reluctantly the sun has stirred--
But, there is one jay bird who is not one of nature’s craven
creatures-- Waiting for a spring call from his mate, he hops into the hungry snow
to dance a dangerous dance in icy morning with the ravens.
There is a God flung magic that dashes high above the haughty human know
among the ancient secret kingdoms of the mystery sky--
And there it is that Wisdom’s Word is spread by wing and wayward winds that blow
their way in worldwide splendor and intricate magnificence that defies
the mind of man. It is a truth that dalliance in vanity is inborn---
Man or bird, into the nature of some spirits-- it low lies
and becomes incited when grand fame or imagined glory has been shorn
by another . And , so-- in Persia when the Prince of Peacocks heard
murmurs of the razzing ravens and the sassy sparrows high sky airborne
a proclamation that the World knew now there lived a peerless bird--
plucky-proud, surpassing the peacock -- Jay magnificent with a spirit daunting, a weight
of valiant blue in shades escaped of double rainbows, color-blurred
who bedazzled all nature’s eyes and winds of ear, that judiciously beheld each trait.
The peacock, no longer Highest Prince of Birds, screamed a terrible and cosmic sound
of jealousy. Ignoring all the glory that still made him great--
the vain and foolish peacock fell-- stunned and breathless to the ground.
Victoria Anderson-Throop 2012 ©
Written in Juja, Kenya
Bird is Stellar Jay, common in Valdez, Alaska
Freshman year, newcomer to public school,
my hormones were roused by Billy D. in typing class.
Sadie Hawkins’ Dance just days away;
a chance for girls to ask boys out.
Too shy to show my interest,
crumpled bits of paper I formed into balls,
tossed them at the back of Billy’s head.
Unsettled, as any boy would be, he glanced back at me.
Wry smile, how could he know how my heart raced?
Leo sat next to Billy, amused by this interaction.
Because of his demeanor, it was Leo I asked to the dance.
Turned out Leo couldn’t dance,
though conversation was no problem.
Leo spent the entire night talking about being an Eagle Scout --
tying knots, marking trails, building campfires --
seemed we had little in common.
No chemistry at all, but Leo said, “Thank you,” at the dance’s end.
For years I spent many days wondering
what if I’d slipped Billy an invitation note,
instead of lobbing paper balls?
Perhaps he would have said, “Yes.”
I might have had my first embrace;
maybe even my first kiss.
Years later at a school reunion
Billy looked more handsome than ever;
served as CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation.
He introduced me to his pretty wife
as the girl who pitched paper balls at his head.
*True story for Carol Brown’s “First Date” contest. (Some folks were lucky to have
more romantic first dates. LOL)
Will you accept?
Not a challenge
Rather an invitation
Let us explore each other's thoughts
Are we oil and water?
Will we have a meeting of the minds?
They say men and women are not the same
Do we both not bleed?
Do we not see the same sky?
Smell the same scents?
Strive for the same things?
I extend out my hand
I beg you, please don't turn away
I am trusting you with a part of me
Let us dance
Twirl along the page
A part of me and more
I lay here at your door
Your proposal is sweet
Oh, let our minds now meet
An invitation to dance
Is such a golden chance
To let rhythm and rhyme
Keep us dancing in time
Gender does not matter
Perceptions we will shatter
When it comes to poetry
We are the same entity
With words we are in love
Touched by inspiration's dove
We exude beauty fair
As our poetic souls we bare
My words a gift to you
You know just what to do
Oil and water don't combine
Each is unique and sublime
But they mix when making bread
By which hungry minds are fed
A sweet blessing our words bring
we can make the heavens sing
Like you, I am a lover of words
Looking for diamonds to capture light
Each word placed creates our delight
A symphony of colors shining bright
In the end I have a spirit of oil within
Long ago I permeated my lover's skin
She and I are now a we
From her comes the sweetness you see
You and I, opposite sides of similar coins
Separate, yet in subtle ways we are joined
Two coins jingle, create a sound
Tossed to the sky yet still Earth bound
As we share what's on our minds
Only heaven knows what treasure we will find
Final Response: Eileen
Treasures don't lie on the ground
Buried deep, they must be found
The one with a passionate heart
Will get all, not just a part
Opposites attract, I'm told
Our poems, treasures of gold
You have stories and I have mine
Poem gems, sparkle and shine
Your love speaks to you; mine to me
Our ballads of sweet harmony
The treasure is this, our dance
Unsure, we still took a chance
You took the lead, steps just right
This dance with you, a sheer delight.
Collaboration between Richard Lamoureux and Eileen Ghali
For Shadow's Contest
Dominique was hotter than a pistol and she loved to twerk.
Harold was a super ugly high tech dot-com first class jerk.
When he saw her twerking on the dance floor he got a teepee boner.
When she found out that he had beaucoup money, he was a goner.
After a very short courtship and a whole lot of horizontal polka;
they got married, lived lavishly and his friends thought he was a sucka.
Harold had more money than a crooked politician so their marriage went on.
Even when he turned eighty, Dominique’s dirty dancing gave him a rock hard bone.
Be it love, lust or perversity, Dominique and Harold are still together living very happily.
Lust and greed are both deadly sins, but at least here on earth they have compatibility.
We pledged brother and sister organizations that spring. We saw each other
frequently at fraternity/sorority functions, and, in the cafeteria, of course. She
dated a friend of mine and I watched from the sidelines, hoping for another
chance to make a play for her heart. Then while dining and socializing one
evening, a senior member of the fraternity requested that we dance together in
the cafeteria! I know it sounds like an odd request for the cafeteria, but Hatchet
was known for trying to humiliate pledges and didn’t really care about others who
were trying to dine and return to their studies. For me, it was the greatest dance
of my life! Hatchet and about a dozen cronies crooned ‘Frauline’, and I was
dancing with Vicki. And, for that dance, she was “my pretty frauline”. I felt like
Bobby Helms had written that song just for me; for us!
I held her close and asked,” Do you know how to turn?”
“No,” she replied.
“Well, you’re fixin’ to learn!” And I felt like I’d been fooled as we successfully
made a full turn in the aisle between the tables and the milk dispenser. I didn’t
want to let her go!
To this day, I smile when I hear the song!
"Music Maestro," the music softly plays,
The curtain lifts, the ballet begins,
People sit on the edge of their seats,
Tasting the sweetness of the violins-
The dancers make not a sound,
As their slippers touch the stage,
The audience - still - gazing forward,
So intimately engaged-
The music pitches soft, then loud,
Creating a somber mood,
Cabrioles, jetes, arabesques, plies,
An ambiance of mystery, the dancers all exude.
The dancers paint a canvas,
Gracefully moving, white sylph-like silhouettes,
The "Prima Ballerina Assoluta" twirls,
Executing perfect en-point pirouettes-
This ballet tells the story,
Of how a peasant girl, from a broken heart, dies,
Her last dance - a spectacular performance,
Brings tears to the audience's eyes.
The ballet nears its dramatic ending,
Dancers complete their last entrechats,
Spellbinding, flawlessly done,
A standing ovation for them all-
The music stops, the Maestro takes a bow,
The curtain lifts, then falls,
The applause of the audience demands,
A number of curtain calls-
The dancers retreat backstage to celebrate,
This was their "Prima's" last dance - she retired today,
Inside, the dancers weep softly,
Outside, people praise the ballet-
Midnight was approaching and the dance floor was stark
Colors of the spectrum were weaving and leaving their mark
Lights spun in brilliant flashes of reds, greens and blues.
Sparse bodies were gyrating as if music pulsated the hues.
The music stopped.
He stepped out of the shadows; on his arm was a dark beauty.
They walked into the hushed room; the air thick and sultry.
Dancing with my partner I watched them through the darkness
He pulled her lithe body to him, how I envied their closeness.
All eyes were upon them.
Piercing rays of greens and yellows flashed up and apart
A deep bass suddenly throbbed with the rhythm of a heart
Black hair and dark skin, he danced in his tight, arrogant style
She danced around him, shaking her body, nimble and nubile
The music beat faster.
The couple twirled around the dance floor as if it was theirs
Pulsating music and scarlet colors flashed around like flares.
His sweat became hers as their sensuous lips barely met
He lifted her into the air, holding her high with the ascent.
He lowered her to the ground.
Watching the Latino lovers as they danced through the night
I felt as if I were a voyeur who couldn’t turn from the sight.
She raised her hand to him; his eyes quickly turned my way
Suddenly, I turned to my partner and my hips began to sway
My heart beat faster.
I could feel him drawing closer the faster my body danced
Strobes of red hues flew overhead, as backwards I glanced.
He pulled me against him and I felt his strong masculinity
Then spiraled me outwards, his hand gripping mine tightly.
Our eyes locked.
He held me firmly in his arms, we danced slowly then quickly
Dancing to the rhythm the music began taking over my body.
The Latin dancer’s eyes looked into mine with a hypnotic stare
As breathlessly we danced and soon I became no longer aware
Of anyone but us.
Cerulean blues flashed over us as he flung my head back
His lips bent down to mine, his eyes piercing and black
Our hearts beat together as one and my eyes closed for the kiss
But colors changed, music was subdued; something was amiss
I opened my eyes.
It was as if I’d awakened to find that their world didn’t exist
And the Latin lover I’d danced with was no more than a mist.
Circling couples danced around aimlessly and suddenly I froze
Violet hues slid over the walls as he walked into the shadows.
His eyes met mine and he vanished.