Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tango Lessons

(John Singer Sargent, El Jaleo, 1882)

Falling once again, mind left spinning, thinking of the many phrases hoped to never endure by hearing them spoken.  This, above all others, keeps haunting: Tango Lessons.  What a stilted parade of images comes dancing rickety forth at the mind's mention.   Memories of 70's.  Warnings.  Horror. 

Driving home tonight, practically chanting them over again, the words.  Hoping to exhaust their marching powers over me, to make them walk away alone, never returning with unbitten rose, never a world spinning in forced coercion.  Teeth clenched in concentration, envisioning the flesh dancing of youth; the neighbor one is thorned, that nightly peddled tango lessons, bingo, fondue, weekly disco dances.  Church. Socks not of silk, never of lace. Payrolls, not periwinkles, stern chances.

Squinting into their lives from afar, wishing to push them away with dim insight. 

I get sucked back red and aged by the spell of tigers.  

Tango, gypsy, bravo.

I drove.  I drove, and drove. After 45 minutes the hum had become my terse tango mantra, taking sometimes two, or more.  Counting sometimes even four, then four by four, or fours, never more.

Watch the tango performed on the streets of Buenos Aires, at an open market, summer sunset, by a group of only two, surrounded by enthusiastic locals, swiftly clapping.  Their lives, flickering in usual fashion. The endearing act, one performed preciously, with admirable candor, an ease of energy;  a shedding of the little pretend pretenses.  

Wandering by myself, unable to sleep from an overnight flight, morphine heavy and unslept mania, standing before a big night of evermore.  Then back to the airport to fly home again, new friends akimbo, all dancing lost limbo among the stars.

There and back in a weekend, over and over again until there was no kidding any more, another after-party tango taxi-drive near, or just offshore, sunlight drifting into sharp time there and here, slipped above, arc-bored.

A daily dance of persistence.

Certainly someone must have taught them to dance the tango, sometime, with its specific steps and quick formal gestures, its strictly choreographed formalities. These people were, of course, family members, loved ones, not teachers, instructors, disciplinarians of dance.  These were not gringos, paid.  

Perhaps I was wrong, it is all a pretense, little else.  A memory that becomes natural, unlike anything before formed, been taught, or developed, sustained.  A dream that becomes an agreed upon dream, a drama of moment, of prideful past, of the moment always falling towards two engrossed. 

It disappears so gently, the thinking of it mostly, the pretend that pretends itself at last.  It is a dance of mutual half-time crucifixion, turning together, as turning across; darting profiles hung this night, together in paradise.


Oh, I wish I were just a gypsy lost, dancing the gestural tarantellas, anywhere drunk with love, unhung by age, unhinged with youth, without charge of fact, or truth, happily marching out the pre-ordained steps of the refined, powerful, and patient passions.

Play, those, I,  play, those, I, play,  've hardly ever known, forever untaught, somehow dancing along the ghosts of Helsinki,  Finnish'd, gypsy wagons dragging me home through the forrest, forced in the morning to return, to again the rosed oceans of the unsound, the highway hum of houses haunted, red weather waning, in red-weather going.

then what, gypsy roamers, 
what is this wanderer warning...

memories of 70's.  
memories of Buenos Aires.  

memories of lone, 
avoided yearnings

come wild wonder,
composed of stone oceans,
and the exodus' unlearning