Tuesday, 30 December 2008
spiraling round and round
losing contact, no contact
I'm out, quite out
remember that day, what day?
when I, yes when we ...
forgot ... who?
wipe it out, clean out
quick, write it down, deep down ...
no, lost it ...
grandfather clock, tick-tock, tick-tock
time keeps on passing, it's passing,
all those memories, blissful memories
obscured by fog, thick fog
pocket watch swinging, still swinging
I'm sleepy, very sleepy
knot I'm bound by, bound
in loving oblivion, sweet oblivion
take me home
that summer, going, going
now it's gone, long gone
like her smile, kind smile
those gray eyes, bright eyes
that dark night
it goes around, comes around
back to her, not her!
what I try to forget, must forget
no matter how I try and try
she's still there
Monday, 30 June 2008
the forgotten sunset
a burnt umbra crayon
I never used
a half-broken promise
reflected in a fractured mirror
whirlwind shards of truth
buried in a frozen deception
those selfish lies
silent accusations stir
an icy drizzle of resentment
when the rain comes, gently
our temperatures falling
simmers over a low flame
it’s never over when it ends
Sunday, 22 June 2008
a little red candle
gone, the inferno of torment
missing, the fiery passion
that bound us
replaced by regret
strife, where there was none
distrust, a cancer of doubt
couldn't have been worse
a love destroyed
regrets of a dark night
in a never-ending past
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
I stopped at the Union and got a quick dinner before heading to rehearsal. I often ate alone, because I lived off-campus and was 8 years older than my classmates. They never really knew what to make of me. The dancers were more forgiving. The guys often ribbed me for being Elise's pet.
“She wants you tonight!” I heard from over my shoulder. It was Mario from class, sitting down next to me. A few others then joined us.
It was odd how they teased me for not being gay – even the women. It was just proof to them that I would never be a dancer. I think the real proof was that I was studying to be a professional horn player, and I'd even already had a start to my career. I still got the occasional paying gigs while I studied. Nobody doubted that I would get a regular orchestra job as soon as I finished.
“That's how she picked up Benno,” he continued.
Great! I thought. Now I'm in for it. “Benno said she never touched him,” I insisted hopefully.
“You never saw them together!”
He was right. Benno had switched to ballet, and everyone thought that was to get away from Elise. That was obviously before I came on the scene. Benno told me that Elise steered him towards ballet; she'd discovered his true love. I always assumed it was more than that. Mario's evidence was incontrovertible. Elise and Benno were all over each other like a glove. No one witnessed anything more than a kiss on the cheek, but everyone agreed that the holding of hands, arms around each other, etc., had to be indicative of something more. Now they never saw each other.
With all that weighing heavily on me, I was pretty useless in my rehearsal, even to the point of a dressing down from the conductor afterwards. I didn't get out until 10:00, and arrived at the studio at 10:20. I knew better than to show up without my tights, and ready to dance...at least that was what I hoped for.
I tapped on the window of her office. I could see her inside, it looked like she was meditating, but I knew she was visualizing a dance. I'd seen that many times before. She let me in the building, we walked to the studio and sat on the bleachers.
“You are afraid of me,” Elise stated bluntly.
I didn't know how to answer. My hesitancy told her all she needed to know.
“Put your tights on,” she commanded. She looked determined, but gave away nothing. I didn't know where it was heading at least that meant that I was going to dance.
I stood and started towards the locker room.
“No!” she stopped me. “Right here.”
When Elise speaks, one must obey. I started removing my jacket and dropped my trousers hoping to shield my underwear with my shirt tails.
“Wait! Shirt off.” She wanted me to strip down in front of her.
I hesitated again.
“You don't trust me,” she said removing the t-shirt she had on over the red and white tights she had on earlier. “Tonight we learn trust.”
Grudgingly, I removed my shirt, and stood before her with only my underpants on.
“Wait!” she barked. That was it. I was ready to be propositioned. For weeks, I'd thought about whether if I'd just met her on the street, I would be attracted to her. I knew the answer was yes, but being propositioned by a teacher, even one that was younger than me felt more than a little awkward. “Look at me!” She then stripped down to just her panties. That was definitely the most I'd ever seen of her.
She just stood there and left me to stare at her before pointing to her gym bag. “There is a sports bra in there; find it and bring it to me.”
It was right on the bottom, so I had to go through all her things. I was relieved when I found it.
“Put it on me,” she demanded, holding up her arms.
I did my best to avoid actually touching her as I did it and it got a bit frustrating.
“Just do it! I don't care where you touch me.”
I did. She wouldn't do anything to help me, so ended up getting a handful of each of her breasts.
“That wasn't so difficult, was it? Now there are some blue satin shorts in my bag, find them and put them on me.”
Because I'd already messed up the contents, they were even harder to find.
“Just pour it out on the bench!” she ordered.
I did, found the shorts and started putting everything back in.
“Leave it. Put them on me.”
I had to do everything myself, but eventually I got them on her.
“Your turn,” she exclaimed, grabbing my rucksack. She emptied the contents onto the bench right on the pile of her clothes, making sure that she mixed everything up while locating my tights even though they just happened to be on top. She pulled my tights onto me, making a point to adjust my tackle, gently and clinically. She didn't allow me a shirt.
“Play for me,” she demanded.
I always have my horn with me, and this was no exception. There I stood, half naked playing the horn solo from the slow movement of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony for her. That was the solo I'd botched in rehearsal earlier. I didn't botch it this time. Interestingly, when I partnered her in performances, I never made mistakes. I did occasionally with others, but with her I was perfect. I played from memory with my eyes closed, but I could hear her moving around. Opening them as I finished, I saw that she had been dancing.
I could see a tear in her eye. Somehow I'd broken through her iron facade.
“I fear that I will never steal you from your music, but would you do something for me?”
“What is that?” I asked, confused.
“Dance as my partner until your musical commitments make that impossible.”
“But I'm no dancer,” I pleaded.
“You are more of a natural dancer than any of the others in your class, more than any other that I have met since I started teaching here.”
“How can that be true? They have all the training.”
“We dance to your strengths – you are strong, you jump well, your positions are perfect, and you complete all your moves. Most of all, you live the music. You internalize it as few dancers do. You are always in time, even if the tape isn't playing.”
She had caught me off-guard. Elise was the perfect partner, and we were perfectly suited to each other physically. Even I could see that. I would enjoy it...suddenly I realized that I wanted to do it. “I will,” I agreed to her obvious delight as she embraced me.
“We will start now then, but we won't go too late,” she acceded. “The faculty dance recital is in two weeks and we will have to spend a lot of time together between now and then. The dance that I have in mind is all about trust. For it, we must not only act as one, but be one. You must never be afraid of me, and that means in every way. If we must see each other completely naked, or even touch each other, we must not be afraid. On another night like this, we should dance this choreography naked. Obviously, we won't do that in public but must do it together once. That is how it must be. My body must be your body.”
“We also must be equal partners,” she continued. “If you wish me to change something, please tell me. As partners we are no longer teacher and student. You will be mine as much as I am yours.”
I was still trying to take it in as we started working on the dance. I could immediately see what she meant about the need to be intimate. She tied our wrists and ankles together, and we tried some moves. It was almost like playing twister; we had to discuss where each of us would put our knees and elbows as we moved. After a half hour, we had choreographed two minutes of a routine without music. We did it several times tied together and one final time untied. It was electric, and I wanted to keep working, but it was already after 11 pm, and Elise had promised not to keep me late.
I felt amazingly alive, though very tired. We had worked quite hard, and had little in the way of clothing to soak up our sweat. In such a short time, I'd become intimate with her glowing, slippery sweating body, and even after we were untied we stayed very close together as if we were drawn to each other.
“I suppose you were expecting me to seduce you tonight,” she said abruptly as I toweled myself off.
“I can't say that the thought hadn't crossed my mind,” I admitted.
Elise reached over and pulled me close, kissing me gently with just a hint of tongue. It was sublime.
“That,” she whispered, “was the last time you will taste my lips as my dance partner, unless, of course, the choreography calls for it.”
What I felt was a mixture of disappointment and relief. We weren't going to have a love affair.
Then she added, smiling, “Afterwards, I'm fair game.”
Thursday, 31 January 2008
“Stop! Turn around very slowly,” Miss Foucault commanded in her thick French accent. “Now when I leap, you should catch me by the hips around shoulder height and lift me over your head.” She leapt, I missed, and she came crashing down on top of me. Oddly, it was never the other way around.
It was only a fluke that I ended up in this class. My girlfriend Tamsin talked me into taking Beginning Modern Dance for my last PE requirement in my senior year of college. She was going to take it, too, but we broke up between my registration time and hers. In the end, I was the only beginner signed up, so they combined my “class” with the advanced class, taught by Elise Foucault, who if not for a tragic toe injury would be Prima Ballerina in the Royal Ballet.
I'd heard rumors that Miss Foucault...Elise...was a predator, but had found nothing to substantiate them. However, I'd become her “project.” As I was a raw beginner, none of the more-experienced women ever wanted to partner me...that, and the fact that I was older. I took time out after my sophomore year to play horn in the San Diego Symphony, which has since folded. At 28, I was the oldest person in the room; even Elise was only 27.
Unpaired, I became her demonstration dummy, especially it seemed, when I had to touch or hold her in intimate places. Of course, I was also the only straight male in the class. Half the women were gay, too, but not Elise; she made that abundantly clear. The only advantage I had over the other men was that I was bigger and stronger, so lifting Elise, who was tall for a dancer, was relatively easy. Very tactile and with a very small “personal space,” she stood too close for my American sensibilities, and was embarrassed by nothing, not even unisex changing spaces. Since our class put on a performance every three weeks, I frequently had to help her change costume. That was excruciating, but I kept reminding myself that I was dancing with one of the best in the world.
She wanted, I think, two things: to turn me into a dancer, and get me into her bed. I would say that neither was on the cards, but I have this thing about dancers, and she had a perfect dancer's body. I also liked how she showed her emotion. If she was sad, you could see it from the back of the auditorium. She was also very plain-speaking. “I want you to make love to me,” she'd said in front of the whole class. She was talking about a particular move we were working on, but I could see in her eyes that she meant it for real. If she wasn't my teacher, I'd be tempted.
The worst thing about it is that I dreamt about her about 10 years ago, before I'd ever seen or even heard of her...and she was wearing the red and white leotard that she was wearing now as she lay on top of me. I could never get that image out of my head, and when I first saw her dance in London, I immediately knew it was her, even from a distance. Nothing really happened in the dream, just her standing there in front of me...and she spoke to me. “Don't worry, I'll get there,” is what she had said in an American accent.
Fortunately, we had fallen onto a soft matt. “Don't try to do it all in a single motion,” she scolded as she rolled off. “Turn, catch, then lift.” Her blue eyes beamed out from under her short auburn hair. Unlike most, she looked me straight in the eye when speaking to me. It was a little disconcerting. The others in the class knew better than to laugh when I dropped her, which was on a regular basis. She had a sharp tongue, and if she swore at you in Franglais, you were in deep trouble. She would find something particularly embarrassing for you to do.
I don't know what she saw in me. Perhaps it was just because I was older than the others. Still, I had the least experience, and she was very demanding of me. Of course, she couldn't have her partner dropping her in a performance. Fortunately, I never have.
They had to give me a crash course in the basics of dance, and most of all, dancing with a partner. It's all about trust. The others were used to all the crazy familiarity exercises: moving blindfolded, falling and being caught by your peers, and the touching ones. That was the hardest – not being afraid to touch another dancer anywhere you are told to, or to allow them to touch you in the same manner. I did these exercises with everyone, but with Elise on a regular basis because I was her partner. I still haven't gotten used to it and often flinch if she touches me where I'm ticklish or somewhere private. If I baulk at touching her anywhere, I get slapped. Of course, someday I may have to lift her by her pelvis. I feared that day would be coming soon.
I finally succeeded in catching her and lifting. She seemed so light to me, as if she was floating and I was just holding her down. We tried it a couple more times to clean up a few lines, mostly my foot placement, and then the other couples tried. Elise and I would be the only ones doing the move in the next performance, but she always made sure that everyone could do it in case there was an injury. The rest of class was spent running that particular scene. It was pretty rough, especially me, since that was the first time we'd run it straight through.
“Daniel,” she said, accosting me at the end of the session, “Do you have some time later today?"
“I've got an orchestra rehearsal until late, and...”
“Would you come to the studio afterwards?” she asked. It was more of a command. She truly was a diva and never expected anyone to refuse her.
“It might run over,” I replied, hoping to put it off. “It's a dress rehearsal for tomorrow night's concert.”
“I will wait for you,” she answered, sounding slightly disappointed.
“Won't the building be locked?”
“Just knock on the window of my office and I'll let you in.” She had an answer for everything.
“I can't stay up too late. It's a difficult concert, and I've got a few solos.”
I realized there was no way out. As I took a quick shower, I wondered what she wanted from me. Was this it? Would this be the moment she made her move? There were only four more weeks left in the term, and then I was finished with my PE requirement – no more dance. There was something about it that I would miss. I grew up watching a lot of ballet and was always around dancers. Gina, my high school girlfriend was a dancer, and I often played for her performances - I also play some piano. My mother had wanted to be a dancer until she got pregnant with me. My brother and sister followed in quick succession, and that ended her aspirations.
I was a quick study and had all but caught up with the class in certain things. Elise told me that I had a natural awareness of my body that few other dancers had. Others had to learn it, and even then, it was always forced. I knew exactly what she meant. I've always been able to see it – dancers whose every move was complete to the tips of their fingers and toes. Elise had it in spades, of course, even when she wasn't dancing. Anything that involved “classical” dance, I was pretty useless. She always choreographed around that fault.
Friday, 11 January 2008
"I ..." she began.
"You are expected," answered a wizened old hag. That didn't properly describe her, she must have been beautiful once. She moved with a grace that belied her years, and she still had her figure.
"I was told ..." Rebecca started again, following her through the dusty narrow passage. The medium had told her to come, no reason, but the cards told the place and the time, and that it was both urgent and important.
"Just come on in and see what you find, dear," the hag replied, with a gentle, almost motherly smirk. "You will find it, what you are looking for."
"What am I looking for?" Rebecca asked. Besides a man, she thought, and she was unlikely to find one here.
"Your heart knows," she answered, leading Rebecca around a corner. That's where the bare bulbs stopped. The corridor widened and was lit by candles, evenly spaced at intervals of 10 feet.
Rebecca felt odd, that she'd already walked further than the length of the building, yet the corridor stretched as far as she could see. It had only been a small hovel at the end of an alley, deep in the heart of the City of London. If her bearings were right, she should have been standing in the middle of The Embankment, dodging cars as they sped past. Another 20 paces, and she would be swimming in the Thames, yet the passage continued.
As the hag led on, Rebecca was astounded by her strength. Someone of her advanced age should have struggled. Rebecca was still comparitively young, in her forties, long divorced, but kept herself in shape hoping that Mr Right would find her eventually. She would never give up hope; she was sure he would come eventually. As they continued, it became warmer, too warm for the coat that had protected her from London's cold, wet winter outside. She took it off, glad that she'd left her laptop at the office. That would have been too much to carry easily.
"You may leave it here darling," the hag said, pointing to a row of hooks on the wall. Likewise, she put her own gray shawl there. Rebecca was surprized at how thin she was, thin and upright, and she hadn't noticed before how tall she was, nearly as tall as Rebecca. "You have lovely hair, dear," she said, reaching up to clear a loose lock that fell before Rebecca's eyes on a regular basis.
That her hair had remained a deep red in her mid-forties was unusual in her family. By 40, her mother's hair was completely white, and her father's was almost gone by then, but it, too, was white along with his beard. They appeared as though they had been frightened to an inch of their lives when they were young, but never breathed a word of it to their only daughter. Rebecca couldn't remember when her mother's hair was completely red. Even at 5, she remembered a streak of white. That she would think of it then boggled her, as they pressed forward. She wished they were with her now.
She stopped. Something about the hag was familiar, as though she had seen her before, and suddenly she seemed even less old when she looked around.
"Come dear. Must hurry," she said. Her voice was familiar, too, as if she had always known it.
Embarrassed, she strode ahead.
"Relax," the woman said, she couldn't be described as a hag anymore. "You are safe here, more safe than you could imagine." She couldn't have been over 60, but Rebecca would have sworn that the hag who opened the door was at least in her nineties.
The passage had continued to get warmer as they progressed, and Rebecca found the heat stifling. If she wasn't sure that they had been traveling at the same level, she would have thought she was decending into hell.
"I think we are both overdressed," the old woman said, stopping, and beginning to remove the smock that hid what had become a beautiful figure, and now she was as tall as Rebecca and her hair was turning red. She couldn't have been older than 50, and her hair was darkening to a deep red much like Rebecca, and the air of familiarity was uncanny. "Here, put this on," she said, handing Rebecca a short cotton dress, plain white. The woman put a similar one on herself. The woman's build was much like Rebecca's.
Once Rebecca had changed, leaving her blouse and skirt on another series of hooks next to the smock, the woman turned abruptly and pushed forward. "Come now, we are almost there," she said over her shoulder.
Rebecca found herself much more comfortable, dressed the same as the woman. "What am I looking for?" she asked herself. Whatever it was would be behind the large mahogany door that they were fast approaching. She thought suddenly about her ex-husband, who was a mistake from the start. It didn't last long, not even close to the point of bearing children. Now it was too late. Still, she knew there was a man out there for her, one that had her name stamped on his soul, as his was stamped on hers. She wished she could read that name; it would make life so much easier.
The passage widened to a large antechamber, lit by six torches. The door towered before them. Rebecca wondered ironically that this might be the gate to hell, and Cerberus would be waiting for them on the other side. Would it allow her to pass, or would she be its dinner. The woman had said she was safe, but Rebecca had no reason to trust her, until she looked at her.
Speechless, she thought she was looking in a mirror, but the woman just smiled back at her. It was a smile she knew well. It was her own. "You will understand shortly,"
"What?..." Rebecca choked on her question. She didn't even know what she was going to ask.
"Would you do anything for him?" the woman asked, as if she knew the answer.
"The man whose name is etched on your soul."
"How did you know?" Rebecca asked.
The woman didn't flinch. "Would you?"
"Yes," Rebecca answered without thinking. "Yes, I would do anything for him, and I know he would do anything for me."
"You are right," the woman said, stepping forward and embracing her. "He has." She kissed Rebecca tenderly on the lips, and vanished.
Left on her own, Rebecca knew she had to open the door and face whatever was there. The return was easy, a long corridor and turn left, but she hadn't come all this way just to return without at least seeing what was at the end. She pulled on the large gold ring that she found at eye level. The door creaked open to an angelic chorus of horns and harps. It was filled with people, at least she thought they were people, then she thought they were angels, as some could fly or float, but none had wings. Souls?
At the sight of her, the hoard gave way to an aisle strewn with red rose petals. Stepping forward, she was surrounded by hundreds, perhaps thousands of angels; that's what she had finally decided upon. The aisle seemed to stretch forward endlessly, and she suddenly felt like Dorothy entering the Emerald City, but this city was diamond and gold with heavenly music.
The woman that brought her there had been one of those souls, she thought, striding forward more purposely. Was it her own immortal soul, come to retrieve her for this man for whom she yearned, who yearned equally for her? When she could see the end, she found an empty throne, mahagony again, like the door far behind her. She pressed forward, almost to a run.
Stopping before it, she realized that the throne was meant to seat two. Nearly out of breath, she waited, turning around to survey the crowd that watched expectantly. She suddenly felt conspicuous as the only person wearing any clothes.
"Have a seat," said a man's voice behind her. She knew that voice, instinctively. It was him, leaning, one elbow on the arm of the throne. There was a playfulness in his deep baritone.
Rebecca felt a lump in her throat as she looked at him, transfixed.
"What's another minute when I've waited an eternity for you?" he joked.
"Where am I?" she asked, stepping up to throne.
"Home, dearest," he said. "You have come home at last," he repeated, as though he couldn't believe it himself.
"Come sit with me for eternity," he said as they sat on throne arm in arm, "or at least until your feet start itching again."