G A R Y    P E R C E S E P E

 

I cannot remember the hour. The tables were shining with laughter. An orchestra assembled on the wide polished floor which was dusted with snow. Players sat down in their places. The chandeliers flickered and dimmed. And someone was saying it’s time while others were staring outside where the street had meandered away. Soon shapes appeared in the shadows where monuments struggled to walk. The conductor arose from the dark and stood at the podium. When the music started to play I’d thought it would never arrive but everyone waited to see who would get up and walk to the dance.

The path to the dance floor seemed endless and someone was leading the way; the stars were still shining for us outside but no one could say who we were. Soon bodies were twisting and turning and gliding around on the floor. Our clothes were heavy the music was slow we seemed happy though couldn’t say why. But I felt like death had been cheated or at least made to wait at the door. Whether we danced away to the future or back to the past who could say. It seemed harmless to just keep on dancing and the light was much better at last. I may have been leading at least for a while until it seemed we had been dancing forever.

The slightest hint of a smile had a history now.  We grimaced and sighed dipped or bowed from the waist. Snow spumed away from our shoes and the wind of our bodies spun us around the floor. As we picked up speed the room became larger and without dimensions and still we kept gliding and gliding whoever we were. We were there.

 

 

And Frederick and Flora appeared

And the dance was slow

And joining them now Homer and Edith

And Ronald, dear Ronald was dancing and smoking.

 

And the dance was slow

And into the hall years later came Marie and Gus

And Ronald, dear Ronald was dancing and smoking

And Gerald and Sara were toppled together

And into the hall years later came Marie and Gus

Swaying together and turning and turning

And Gerald and Sara were toppled together

And Vincent and Ang and Janet and Jim

 

Swaying together and turning and turning

Then came John long and thin

And Vincent and Ang and Janet and Jim

Everyone moving everyone dancing

 

Then came John long and thin

Across the snow floor

Everyone moving everyone dancing

Ernest was there and so was Kathleen

 

Across the snow floor

Looking better than ever came Zelda and Scott

Ernest was there and so was Kathleen

And Stephen and Jerrod had just gotten back

 

Looking better than ever came Zelda and Scott

Lincoln, Lance, Ann Beattie and Jim

And Stephen and Jerrod had just gotten back

And others were there

 

Lincoln, Lance, Ann Beattie and Jim

William and Judie were drinking and dancing

And others were there

Wearing their best

 

William and Judie were drinking and dancing

Rie and Frederick Bech and Cathy

Wearing their best

Around and around dancing and dancing.

 

And our shadows drifted away toward sunset till birds on telephone wires stopped singing and darkened the sea while fish breath smelled stale in the air near our heads, smelled of almonds then oranges and taffy and boardwalk then finally rotting fruit. Dust stuck to the canvas mounted in the corner and dark clouds rose high as a house and higher. We stood and watched the others afloat on the sea. From distant rafts they were calling hello. Hello as they sailed by & may we have this dance? White stars and then off they went to another room with walls of robin egg blue.

 

And one floor led to another

And doves flew back and forth

Soldiers roamed the veranda

Under the boughs of trees

 

And doves flew back and forth

A greenish haze was everywhere

Under the boughs of trees

And Johnnie was there with Arlene

 

A greenish haze was everywhere

And Lucette and Mary were dancing

And Johnnie was there with Arlene

Earthlings must always be pale they said

 

And Lucette and Mary were dancing

And Connie and Kevin were talking

Earthlings must always be pale they said

But pale turns round to fair

 

And Connie and Kevin were talking

Saying that blue slides into black

But pale turns round to fair

And Nic was there in heels

 

Saying that blue slides into black

Georgiana was there and Margot

And Nic was there in heels

And day and night were one

 

Georgiana was there and Margot

And Ralphie and Pari were there

And day and night were one

And the ocean’s green body was near

 

And Ralphie and Pari were there

And Frank and Lauren were dancing

And the ocean’s green body was near

Hello out there hello

 

And Frank and Lauren were dancing,

So thin they were and light

Hello out there hello

Can anyone hear out there

 

And water rushed into the ballroom from every direction in sound splitting waves rinsing the snow & crashing into furniture. And I felt as if the sea extended from me alone and that I was a watery grave. And the moon’s light was blocked by the leaning towers perfectly shattered and the earth reeled like a drunken man. The foundations of the world were shaken but we went on dancing with moves we had memorized as breakers flashed white and specks fell from heavens opened to receive human dust. It grew cold and then I was back with the others. The green sea receded a kingdom of water gave way and then suddenly we were left alone.

 

They floated over the floor

And the china rattled a little

Oh how they moved together

The chandelier shook in the draft

 

And the china rattled a little

So many doors were open

The chandelier shook in the draft

Nobody knew what would happen

 

So many doors were open

And there was Rosalie dancing

Nobody knew what would happen

Now Rol waltzed into the room

 

And there was Rosalie dancing

And Doug and Jen were waiting

Now Rol waltzed into the room

The years would come and go

 

And Doug and Jen were waiting

Hours and hours would pass

The years would come and go

The trees in the hallway rustled

 

Hours and hours would pass

Now enter the children of Mare

The trees in the hallway rustled

And here were the children of Gabe

 

Now enter the children of Mare

There was nothing to do but dance

And here were the children of Gabe

And Pia was telling them something

 

There was nothing to do but dance

They would never lie down together

And Pia was telling them something

And many who dreamed they could

 

Would never lay down together

The season of dancing was endless

And many who dreamed they could

Would never be able to stop

 

I cannot remember the hour or day the light burned the fog away. We were walking across the wide polished floor inlaid with marble and statuary stood on the stage. Through shallow water and a dusting of snow we advanced as clouds gathered in gray. I cannot remember but I think you were there whoever you are today.

 

Read to ” The Emporer’s Waltz Op 437

 

 

 

 


photo credit: designed by chance, tumblr.

 

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