Poetry » Michael Katovich »



She was a dancer.
I sold illusions and she danced.
Come evenings and the beach,
And whiskers worn as coattails in the breeze,
The lake would breathe
A primitive conviction.
The exhaust wafting in miniature currents,
Friendship was broken into a palm of dust,
When I would walk
With limping pride
And a dozen trampled fantasies,
She would dance.

She danced on tables and park benches
Up and down Sheridan Avenue,
She would dance.
She danced on molecules
And never hit the ground.
In and out of nightclubs
She would dance.
She danced in strip joints
And down the miracle mile
On and off its wide sidewalks,
She would dance.

In the limelight filled with beer,
With bald heads on Ferris wheels,
Her legs were spears
That punctured holy pictures.
Her body would shake
And escape, like Houdini,
As her soul took its seat
Amid the million and one damned souls
Rattled by the earthquake
Of the elevated trains
Over the armed guards of the soul
Standing tall on the shoreline,
She would dance.

There were blisters from the wooden floors
And dim lights painting jugglers green.
There were parasites in shells
And drowsy evenings with a table for two.
And all the while she would dance,
She danced on the roar of D-Day’s El
On splinters, held together
Like memoirs wearing the past’s blinders.
She danced on oceans of fire
On Lake Shore Drive
On souls in transit with transfers.
In Limbo, where I hung my hat.
In Rogers Park, where she hung my head,
In the eyes of men with blood on their lips,
She would dance.

She danced in waves.
On stars that invaded triangles
Of a universe trapped in her beat.
She danced in wild embrace
Throughout the violet nights
That strangled sex and kept the change.
She danced on orange faces
Caught in a funnel.
She danced on red buildings
On storefront houses
On top of neon lights
In the shadow of ballparks
With exploding scoreboards
And the jangled groan of defeat.
She danced in places
Where good people could not be seen.
She danced on the dawn
Of Mercury’s radiant beam.
She danced on broken glass,
On cigarette butts,
Discarded thoughtlessly in the glimmer of a night
Trading places with the day,
Her breath smelled
Of tobacco, wine, and tea
And finally, she danced over me.

She was a dancer.
I sold illusions and she danced.
The cheapness of an afternoon was a price to pay
And she paid it.
And she danced.