Praise how we keep showing up, all of us, the unschooled and the hopeful in our stiff new dance shoes. Praise those first triple steps, the articulation of the feet, the reminder to glide and not bounce. Keep some energy in your arms. Keep the crown of your head toward the sky. Relax. What looks so easy when others do it becomes a confusion of moves — cross over, off the track, a chest spotlighting a partner. Before we began lessons, we thought we were good dancers. A few weeks in, we discovered it untrue. And then we began again. Leverage, compression, a slight give in the knees. Praise the fresh start, the five, six, seven, eight. Praise how hard it is to keep doing something we don’t do well, and how we show up anyway.
There is no better Austin than the one that shows itself on a late March Saturday, which is the one we got to share with Gary on his visit. It’s a day that invites deck sitting and park going and choosing between too many good events spread between too many places. It’s the perfect problem to have. Julie on the radio talking about the Candoli Brothers. Marching bands from across the country converging to play and dance and sing. The familiar old woman in the bright yellow sports bra shaking it with the belly dancer. We sat in grass, in the shade, and we stood in a parking lot beneath giant murals and the horns honked and swooned. Minor Mishap brought it again. Then we drank tea and ate leftovers and saw improv and strolled through the hopping streets of downtown, all the way to Willie. I leaned over to Gary at the show and said, “Just so you know, our life isn’t always this exciting.” But occasionally in late March, it is.
March 28, 2015
At 3pm, I thought the day would be represented like this: spring, a shock of blue sky, everything budding. I submitted poems, walked, lunched with a friend, sat on a park bench reading books of poetry for a contest I’m helping to judge. Kids ran in the grass. I pulled up my sleeves to get sun on my arms. All this was before Fifi Switchblade. When Chris said burlesque, I had vague ideas about what that meant–feathers, strutting, spectacle. It was not quite the wigs and bondage-y outfits we encountered at the show that night. But I could roll, and the the first performer took the stage, slinking across in her black bustier and arms draped like wings. Across, across, and then right off the edge, dropping to the concrete below. Fifi, on the floor, folks rushing to help her. The show was on hold while we waited for an ambulance. We sang her happy birthday while they lifted her to the stretcher. And then the show went on, with mermaids on poles and tassel-titted women spinning on hoops. Nine muses danced in red gowns and black bras. After the first intermission, I headed home. Chris and Gary stayed ’til the end. But one day can only contain so much–the clear blue of a new season, the dark night of women falling, and waiting for me the cats, the covers, the crossword I was so close to completing.
March 27, 2015