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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

LATIN CLASS, by                    
First Line: Herschel will be pissed
Subject(s): Dancing & Dancers


Herschel will be pissed
I know. We missed
last week and have practiced
exactly once even
after I cobbled some Van
Dyke Parks and Steely Dan
into a fake merengue tape.
In a panic I tell you it's hopeless
but your Presbyterian genes insist
so we try to look invisible
among the couples tripping
over each other in the high school
gym and shrug when Herschel's cool
skeptical
eye stares us down.
He seizes Christy his partner by the wrist
and they whip
around each other in an impossible
new step
hips driving like some insane
Caribbean machine
and the others' jaws drop
yeah right so I can tell we're all on an equal
Anglo footing. We walk it through
fast way too
fast he cues the tape
and suddenly it's carnival
for spastics screaming out for correction
Fellas! Fellas! oh
the wrist
this way the hip
that and now I'm not stepping
on your feet and the planetary whirl
and shift of weight and tension
in our arms feel
fine
as I catch
you in the orbital
swing and watch
your eyes light up Caribbean
while Herschel
bails out of our lurching
path his smile
I imagine
barely suppressed
at us the Dominican champion
estrellas orientales as we dip
dangerously only to rise up in the East.

Copyright Jay Rogoff.






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