blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2010  Vol. 9  No. 2
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Malika and the Zar Dance

Cave, mountain, streams of clothes
The discovery of her lifetime: take take, taken;
Keep keep, kept;
Fly fly, flown away with the dream.
Labels flutter everywhere, a sequence
Of beads, draped fabric
Names dripping—Issey Miyake, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto—
So many delicate expensive names
Floating away under Waterloo Bridge
Where she dances at night under the sky. She prances for all these names.
They should be her friends, leave their ivory Bond Street towers
To share her ecstatic celebration.
But all that appear are a fragrant
Vagrant or two, her night friends thrilled by her dancing.

She dances while the river drifts away
The seagulls above her scream their nightly raptures
And she jumps over empty bottles and cans,
Still dancing,
The vagrants encouraging her
“Go on girl, higher, more, go for it!”
Til the dance turns sublime, a Zar dance
Where dreams and fantasies mingle in a different world
And all those exclusive labels become people.

Now she can have them as friends—
But at the end of the dance all she finds is her own
Disheveled body
Lying in the cold under Waterloo Bridge
Somewhere a train clattering through the distance
Carrying nothing
Except the emptiness of her night.  end

   The Car
   Malika and the Zar Dance

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