Archives for posts with tag: Dance

peru licensed Pablo Borca
COVID Lockup in Lima
by Rose Mary Boehm

It’s quiet Sundays again. Our Presi
(and his band of braves) have decided
that we’ve had enough fun. Back to total lockup
on Sundays. Just heard the police giving someone
a hard time. The woman was walking her dog.
What, the poor dog can’t poop on Sundays?

So, today there are no cars, no dog barking,
no young voices laughing. I look out of the window
and the only living things are the palm trees
and the ever-increasing flock, colony, fleet,
parcel, or dissimulation of birds. The Pacific
is gently sighing its waves onto the pebble shore.
No witnesses.

But during the week it’s COVID entertainment.
And they are getting better. Bring a smile
to my face every time they pass. A trumpet,
a guitar, a drum and a singer. They make
their way along the boardwalks of Lima
to keep us locked-up folk smiling.
At first it hurt a bit. But they

must be practicing their craft. Every day
they keep the rhythm better, the singer
almost hits the right notes, the guitar
seems to be strumming with more confidence,
the trumpet no longer tortured.

Let me celebrate the bringers of cheer,
not wanting anything else but smiling faces
at the windows of the many high-rises along
the seafront. Every fifty meters or so
they stop to play Peruvian huaynos,
dances of happiness since Inca times.
I swear there once was a gaggle of police
in uniform who jumped and stomped
their hearts out.

PHOTO: Peruvian couple dancing Huayno, a traditional musical genre typical of the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, northern Argentina, and northern Chile. Photo by Pablo Borca, used by permission. 

peru licensed mark tucan

NOTE: Huayno is a genre of popular Peruvian Andean music and dance. It is especially common in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, but also present in Chile, and is practiced by a variety of ethnic groups, especially the Quechua people. The history of Huayno dates back to colonial Peru as a combination of traditional rural folk music and popular urban dance music. High-pitched vocals are accompanied by a variety of instruments, including quena (flute), harp, siku (panpipe), accordion, saxophone, charango, lute, violin, guitar, and mandolin. Some elements of huayno originate in the music of the pre-Columbian Andes, especially on the territory of the former Inca Empire. Huayno utilizes a distinctive rhythm in which the first beat is stressed and followed by two short beats.

PHOTO: A Quechuan man with traditional dress and drum (Peru, 2018). Photo by Mark Tucan, used by permission. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am delighted to have this opportunity to write a poem in honor of the people here in Lima who have only one wish: to see the rest of us (especially the over-65s who are still in strict quarantine) stand at their windows and smile and clap. They are simple folk and could sure do with some money. But they do it from the goodness of their hearts. I find that very moving. At times even the police join in. Police have also in the past been driving slowly up and down the streets, windows open, playing happy music at full blast. You have to love the good intentions.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and Tangents, a full-length poetry collection published in the UK in 2011, she’s a three-time winner of the Goodreads monthly competition. Recent poetry collections are From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949: A Child’s Journey and Peru Blues or Lady Gaga Won’t Be Back. Her latest full-length poetry manuscript, The Rain Girl, will be will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all good bookshops starting on September 10, 2020.   

In formation
by Angela L. Treviño

We stand; eyes forward, above the sea
of heads and hair. Bodies as stiff
and motionless as the mannequins
that stand beside us. We are dressed
in all black, ready for our orders.
One of our generals steps out from
the line and faces us; eyes focused.

He lifts his arms to gather our attention.
We put our focus on his extended arms
as they stretch out to the ceiling.
He mouths “One, Two, Three.”
before gently flicking his wrists.
In unison we open our mouths;
our voices blend together
in synchronization.

Our bodies follow the melody,
engrained in our minds from hours
of training. Two sergeants emerged
from our dance line to sing their solos
before gracefully sliding back
into formation. The general
continues to signal orders
as we march and sing.

When the end of the war came
we froze in triumphant victory
as people clapped and cheered.
for our victory. The general lowered
one of his arms and tucked it behind
his back; he turned to the crowd and
bowed. With a flick of his wrist
we bowed together in formation
before making our way back to the base
to begin training once again.

IMAGE: “Dancers” bt Erte (1892-1990).


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Before I began my journey as a writer, I was a vocalist for two years. I remembered my very first performance. I was so scared that I would mess up the choreography or do something wrong. My instructors were strict. We had to practice standing still, posing, smiling, breathing, silence, and everything above. But once we finished I felt a sense of relief and accomplishment. Over time, it became natural. We were a force to be reckoned with; similar to the military.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is one of the performances I had to do in 2013. This was around my second year performing. We always had to wear these long black gowns for all our performances. I was a senior at the time.

TrevinoABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angela L. Treviño is a student at Aurora University studying English. She also is minoring in Latino Studies, Political Science, and American Sign Language. She invests her time in improving her writing. She loves to write most of her poems in Spanglish, a hybrid of both English and Spanish. She has a goal of publishing a poetry book before she graduates from college in Spring 2018.

Will you?
by Salena Casha

It was a chant
A quick one-two beat
My tongue thick with nerves
So wired i could feel every
Postule writhing in a language
i didn’t know.

The notecard: tucked into my pocket
edges pinching my fingers
speaking to me in my own tongue
even though i was fluent in his
within my head.

It didn’t matter, the answer, nein.
No, danke. Thank you.
I trained myself for this,
practiced the way he’d say it
blond curls lit up and burning my

The air smelled of baked asphalt,
curried pollen, boy sweat.
He walked ahead, his converse
soles slapping away from me
and i stepped in his shoes. Keeping up
but behind.

I don’t know if i said his name but he turned to me
and my hands shook even though it was my tongue
that would do the talking and someone whispered

“Willst du mit mir zum Prom gehen?“

He frowned. No nein. No no. Just a blank stare
As i shuffled for the card and offered it to him,
my handwriting smudged, my fingerprints stained
and smeared on the blue lines.

He looked at me and smiled, wide and bright,
and I stared into him, a transfixed star
even as my face burnt red in the sun.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Friends are the best sort of dates to proms (6/8/2009).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Some people say kids are resilient, but at 17 you feel fragile. Like a word could splinter a sliver of you, an important puzzle piece, especially if it’s a “no.” But still, somehow, the romantics of that age prevail. Or at least they did for me when I asked a German exchange student to prom my senior year of high school. Embarrassing? Yes. Successful? I don’t have any prom photos to prove it. However, that moment when I offered him my heart on an index card is one of the most formative moments in the year of Salena Casha: teen nerd.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Salena Casha‘s work has appeared in over 30 publications. She was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her story “Il Sale Della Terra,” which appeared in the fall issue of Mulberry Fork Review and her flash fiction piece was selected by Roxane Gay for the Top (Very) Short Stories of 2015. She was a finalist for the 2013-2014 Boston Public Library’s Children’s Writer-in-Residence and a 2011 Bread Loaf Scholarship Recipient in Fiction. Her first three picture books are housed under the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt umbrella. Follow her on twitter @salaylay_c.

isadora by genthe
by Dorothy Swoope

I imagined I
was Isadora —
dancing barefoot
on a lush summer lawn,
fragrant flowers
woven through
my flowing hair —
lithe and light,
a loosened, bright

IMAGE: “Isadora,” portrait of dancer Isadora Duncan by Arnold Genthe (1926).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was inspired to write this piece through the Silver Birch Press prompt “My Imaginary Skill”  I spent hours imagining I was Isadora Duncan and would dance and swirl aimlessly in my own world around the house in winter or out on our front lawn in summer, thoroughly entranced with myself!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dorothy Swoope is an award-winning poet and long-time resident of the South Coast, New South Wales, in Australia. Her writings have been published in newspapers, anthologies, and literary magazines in Australia and the USA. A collection of poems, The touch of a word, was published in 2000. Inspiration is everywhere.

On Being Fred Astaire
Through Automatic Doors
by James Penha

At the lightest touch of the tip of the toe
of my black patent leather pump
I felt the                   surge     of power
and she arced
back from nine to noon. She
paused, quivered, waited.
“I sing the body electric,” he said but sang
instead “A Fine Romance.”
As he
               bounced ahead, accelerated,
poco meno mossa, stepped
from side to side
in three quarter
swing time,
she responded with
Adele’s fondness,
Ginger’s starlight,
Barrie’s ardor,
the strength of Cyd,
steel and glass.
“Welcome shoppers!” I was trapped.
She nestled in her jamb.

PHOTO: The poet in Fred’s white tie and (not visible) tails.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have adapted this poem for the Silver Birch Press “My Imaginary Skill” series from a version that was originally published in Milkweed Chronicle in (gulp!) 1980.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and in poetry. His essay “It’s Been a Long Time Coming” was featured in The New York Times “Modern Love” column in April 2016.  Penha edits TheNewVerse.News, an online journal of current-events poetry. Visit him on Twitter @JamesPenha.

rita and fred
by Rose Mary Boehm

I could see myself. The singing, dancing,
long-legged Rita Hayworth double. I would.
I did. I do. Mame.
Long mane, probably red. Long
gloves until over my elbows.
Probably black.
Dress? Silk and shine and hugging my thighs
and calves. At least six inches of heel.
How I’d dazzle, how I’d pirouette, how I’d
swing my hips without being vulgar. Never
be vulgar, my mother said. Oh no, ma’am.
I’d put Ginger to shame. Fred and Rose.
No boogie. The Marimba?
Begin the Beguine?
More athletic? Gene and Rose?
For Gene I might be Leslie Caron instead of Rita.
But she was too sweet.
No, not John Travolta. The emphasis
Is on “slinky.” Someone from the underworld
would come backstage
and offer to shoot himself
unless I said “yes.”

PHOTO: Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire in a scene from You Were Never Lovelier (1942).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was socially gauche, my dancing skills negligible, my red high-heeled peep-toes hurt my feet, and when I wondered whether I would ever be looked at by any male, I imagined I could exchange my mouse-blonde ponytail for Rita Hayworth’s blonde mane, my awkward gait for her sinuous moves, could flow across a stage with at least Fred Astaire, and be admired by all.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A German-born U.K. national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of TANGENTS, a poetry collection published in the U.K. (2011/2012), her work has been widely published in U.S. poetry journals (online and print).  Twice winner of the Goodreads monthly competition, her new poetry collection (From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949) was published by Aldrich Press in May 2016, and another new collection will be published by Kelsay Books in 2016/2017.

by Mike Dailey

I can bend at the waist, put my head between knees
See what’s in my back pocket and do that with ease
I can criss-cross my legs and then walk on my hands
I can stand on a ball and juggle six pans
I can place a broom handle on the tip of my nose
And keep it upright while I count all my toes
I can spin on my head maybe six times or more
While bouncing a basketball all over the floor
I can run up a wall, do a back flip and then
Run back up the wall and do it again
I can put both my ankles in back of my head
Then bounce from my chair all the way to my bed
I can unhinge my jaw put my fist in my mouth
I can stare towards the north with my feet walking south
I can do all these things but the thing I can’t do
Get a picture of me doing these things for you

PHOTO: Fred Astaire dancing on the walls and ceiling in Royal Wedding (1951).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I liked the challenge of finding something I could not do but wish that I could. At 67 years old, I am not as flexible as I once was, and I was never as flexible or as agile as I always wanted to be. With that in mind, I just started putting down all the flexible and coordinated things that I would have done to impress the ladies had I been able to do so in my youth.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Dailey lives in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. He is a teller of stories in rhythm and rhyme. He has been writing poetry most of his life and has three published books of his poems with a fourth on the way. He leaves the introspective, deep personal poetry to others while he concentrates his poems on the interesting and often odd happening stories that most people overlook.

Me as Patrick Swayze
by Patrick Lee Marshall

Dirty Dancing,
ready in a heartbeat
to sing, move, teach.
Music taking you
places you didn’t
know you could go.

My song and dance;
cleaning messes
made by shoppers
during the day,
dragging their feet
across the floor,
spilling their drinks,
throwing their trash,
in rhythm to music
from ceiling speakers.

I practice with a mop,
moving dirt.
He moves Jennifer Grey.
There is something wrong
with my picture.

PHOTO: Patrick Swayze in a scene from Dirty Dancing (1987).


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I grew up singing in church. I tried to dance; that’s the most I can say about that subject. However, I was not bashful. I worked at a grocery store in Irving, Texas in the early sixties. We were cleaning the store one night and switched the sound system to a local pop station. I did not realize a friend took a picture until he gave it to me later. I was singing and dancing with a mop for a partner, standing on the bucket. Years later, I saw Dirty Dancing and was delighted by dance moves in the movie. When the SAME NAME Series was announced, I knew I had to find that picture and write something.

PHOTO: Taken in 1962 at Hutch’s Grocery Store, Irving, Texas.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick Lee Marshall is a member of the Denton Poets’ Assembly, Poetry Society of Texas, and the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. His poetry has appeared in over 20 publications and anthologies, including Encore: Prize Poems of the NFSPS, A Galaxy of Verse, Blue Hole Magazine, Merging Visions (Collections II, III and IV), Inkwell Echoes, Hunger for Peace, and Visions. He lives in Keller, Texas, with his wife Andrea and three cats.

Rock(in’) It
by Todd Duffey

One humid day
on a back yard deck
in Houston, Texas,
It was 1983.

One white boy,
padded down like
the Michelin man,
spun on his helmeted head
to the seminal song “Rockit”
while his mother watched
from a bathroom window.

He fell, and bounced
off himself, off his padding.
He moonwalked, poorly.
He then violently rippled his body,
his chin smashing into the
cardboard underneath,
then his knees.
Chin, knees. Chin, knees.

He stood, then whirled his
leg around, twirling, then falling
to the ground, where he curled up
and spun sadly on his back.

He was Rockin’ It.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I tried many things as a child. I was too small to play sports, so my mom put me into dance classes to keep me active. I fell in love with the adoration of the audience at recitals, and ventured out into breakdance, as it was something the cool kids were doing. But the dexterity it took for me to shuffle my tap shoe to “New York, New York,” or ball change my way through The Rolling Stones’ “Get Back,” were different from what it took to thrash my body on the ground to the 1/16 tempo of an electronic breakdance beat. I gave up the dancing life and moved into acting, where I could break hearts, not bones.

todd duffey

Todd Duffey
is the annoying waiter from the cult film Office Space. He was also the puppeteer and voice for the puppet squirrel Scooter McNutty on the kids’ show Barney and Friends. He’s been acting entirely too long and has many stories about these adventures. Currently he’s being considered for publication for a memoir he’s put together after years of drinking and trying to forget said stories. His stories and writing style are as he thinks — no filter, just get it out and deal with the offended people later. This is a true-to-life moment from his life, when he was trying to learn to breakdance. His mother actually put him in a breakdance class, where he failed miserably. He lives in Los Angeles, where he still believes “he coulda been a dancer, if he could only get the shit off his shoes.”

The Hop-On Hop-Off Poem
by Jacalyn Carley

Get on here, get off there,
this is a hop on- hop off poem.
No windows on the trip, you’ll need
an audio guide to see.
Where are we?
You’re in me. Welcome aboard the $10 tour.
Settle back. Ear buds plugged?
Language chosen? You hear
knees knocking?
They’re mine. $10, this tour
de force inside, I said, of me.
It’s a tour of me body, of mindless
pine barrens, bulky
mountains, with whole
states of swamps and neon lures
on liver-fed quicksand.
Lean back, trust the audio guide
as we begin by whitewater rafting
an artery. Helper verbs race by.
On your left, proper nouns are beached
like leaky banana boats. Let them rot.
You riding the force? You one with it?
Relax and enjoy as we move on
take out your ear buds, stop
beyond syntax, here at still waters, hear
distant muscles chanting.
Ahhh. Powerful adverbs eddy,
and their suction
is pleasant. Look around. Have you
always assumed that a muscle is nothing
more than a noun begging a ligament, a bone…
begging purchase? The guide notes:
Muscles are monks, neither fast-
talking preachers nor down-and-out bums
on a bench but monks, i.e., nothing more than
conjunctions in training.
Back on, please, we must move on.
Time now to ride the rush
of consciousness, head down,
to drop anchor.
To stomach lost love, bad relations,
toxic fumes, sulfurous vapors
You bothered? Have interjections?
Wanna exit? Too bad. Hop on.
We will finish this poem,
paddle one more vein. Come along
to intersection heart and lung.
Beats stomp. Bass and drum traffic in
signals of old iambic.
This route is blocked by clutter,
weeping, waste and detritus,
an endless ebb
of suicidal adjectives.
Do you hear knees knocking?
Fear there’s no emergency exit,
no volta out of here?
Scared? The guide notes
all goose bumps have roots.
When hairs stand, where
do they end? Skin
is a modifier, it splits the infinitive,
ensures the ocean of self stays contained.
You’re drifting. Hey you
guide calls, time to
sign on for the bonus,
visit the brain where fairies
and fungus lie together, embedded in pronouns.
And you decline, claim to be broke and that fast
you’re spiraling a barky, craggy tunnel,
riding the tailbone’s slippery slope and
then you are floating, a participle waiting
for the parachute to open
you see the light,
know now for certain
you prefer your poetry
as motion, not action
with its ingredients undigested and
at the very worst as bones on a plate that you can see
and suck the greasy rest of.
Say it: You prefer poetry where roots harbor flowers,
as an emotional pick-me-up, not some stinking
surging hop-on hop-off junket…
the guide interrupts
you’re dangling thoughts, claims
you don’t know what you want
at all. Your lines are tangled, a
haiku gets stymied. Lymph live-streams
free verse to your old viscous poem
and you’re hooked,
a swinger-on

PHOTO: The author in her dancing days.


As a young dancer, my job was to be technically brilliant by emulating the images of other famous dancers — dancing from the outside, so to say. With time, a sea change occurred in how I understood the human body. Moving from the inside became my goal. This meant working with internal images, what we now call “somatic work,” and involves everything from envisioning organs and bones to meditative instructions, and then moving from that internal place into the world, even onto the stage. None of this has much to do with writing, which is something I did in order to keep my cognitive sanity in that highly abstract and competitive environment.  When an unfinished manuscript of mine was bought by a publisher – an event that coincided with increasing knee problems and disillusionment of the modern dance world – I decided within a week to stop dancing. I disbanded my company, turned over teaching jobs, gave money back to sponsors for new work. The transformation was abrupt. I shed an old skin with nothing more than hope and blind faith that the new one would suit me. The poem, “The Hop-On Hop-Off Poem” is a dancer’s journey, literally, into the body of a writer. (Image from The Human Anatomy Coloring Book.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jacalyn Carley transformed from a choreographer to writer midlife. The author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, she is currently writing a series of poems about the nude artists who paint the nude models as well as ekphrastic poems. She lives in Berlin, Germany.