WHEN I STOPPED DANCING
I stopped dancing first when the screeching screaming voice,
cut into my small, happy, care-free body
like a sharp knife cuts into warm butter,
the accusing words freezing my bones, so I couldn't breathe or move
and my little spark got lost in my heart
and my little candle was simply snuffed out!
I didn't dance for many long dark years out of fear
of icy glances and of stepping on someone's toes.
I started dancing again because a fierce storm
started building inside my chest
and I was afraid that I would explode and shatter
and there was no one to pick up the pieces and put me back together again.
But it hurt, maybe like when a mutinous seed breaks out of it's shell,
only to find a desert with no water and no loving gardener's hands.
But I couldn’t stop
And the rumble in my stomach
became a scream that had been trapped in my throat
like a caged bird who had forgotten how to sing
and I found a crowd that was ragged but proud
with music that was jagged and loud
and a perfect fit for my dance.
I stopped dancing, again because I had to go to another city
And the people I met
didn’t see anything good in how I moved
but only prickles and thorns
and I seemed to pierce their defences with my broken points,
they felt uncomfortable, with icy stares, or look-away glances,
became agitated and angry
with words that were like acid
that that made my cheeks red and my skin burn,
like: I was deformed, gross and sick
I didn’t know what I was doing, all wrong!
I only longed to somehow belong, con-form
and fit my uncomfortable gesticulations
Into their nice and tidy, square boxes
But I didn’t know how.
I started dancing again in secret darkness,
the blackness like a friendly warm blanket
keeping out the biting wind and icy rain.
I kept on dancing because again somehow, met others
who danced like me and we seemed to see and understand
and could talk a similar language - through our disorderly bodies.
I stopped dancing again…
after she went away,
because my heart felt like cold lead and so heavy,
that I was afraid that I couldn't stop it from falling on to the floor
and that all would see it in it's naked, broken ugliness
and I didn't know how to make it pretty or put it back together - again.
For a while, I only danced in my head,
my body feeling like a warm, lumpy sack, keeping me safe,
But filled with lead.
other times, feeling like see through glass and was afraid too move much,
in case I might shatter
maybe I should of,
but does it really matter?
I still hadn't learnt how to put the pieces back together again,
I started dancing again because there were animals moving inside of me
that I couldn't control.
An elephant; slow, heavy and graceful in my feet and legs,
Rilke’s Panther, creeping back into the jungle
of my hips and torso – silent and hungry
and a snake menacingly uncoiling in my spine,
and when I opened my arms…
a great Buzzard soaring high and swooping down.
I gently took my fear out of the freezer
and held him quivering close to my heart,
and as we stood and danced close to the speaker
that sent vibrating pulsating rhythms
and soft warm melodies exploding in rainbow colours
from foggy grey to grassy green, from muddy brown to flame red,
to the barren fields of my war scarred body,
my lonely dread started to melt with dirty tears
of long unexpressed rage, shame and despair
and the polluted river slowly became clearer, cleaner
washing my bones and heart
and here I am, dancing, again – even now
as I am, in the sun, thunder and the rain.
© Sangeet Portals 2018
Copyright © Sangeet Portals | Year Posted 2021