April Prompt Number 13

April #13

Janice #1: Bewitched, Bothered and/or Bald




Here on the shortest night

we dance back the dark.


All along the slope

St. John’s yellow flowers

bloom for the healing

of sadness and fear,

shining like stars

in the blackened grass.


The mountain unfolds.

The music pours out.

DEAR PINA,–Part Three

these are my                                             words
these shapes
on the page
Watch me
tilt, orient differently–
tilt, pivot, zig zag, tilt,
give the back a break,
tilt, pivot, zig zag, tilt,
give the head a break,
tilt, pivot, zig zag, tilt,
and circle into self
to adjust placement
to start again. And
circle into self to
adjust placement to
start again. And circle
into heart to adjust
placement to start
again. And circle into
self to adjust place
meant to start again. And
circle into self again
to just the place to
start again.

I mean
to start.

My path is on the outside track.
I’m carried in the head, not the leg–
head through the space in the arm,
head towards the left shoulder,
head resting on the neck,
head into the pivot,
head down.

Look at me, if possible.
Hold my head while
I circle into self
to start again.

~found in rehearsal notes from Hannah Dennison, the choreographer of Dear Pina,



These are my                                       words:
Open them, reach out with them.
Get them to move like dancers,
make them tilt
and cup the neighbor head.
brush the dirt
or torso over into parallel.
Let them
brush back down your body
as you uncurl.

I am
small and contained.
There is breath in my arms
my arms
are involved but not big, my hands
big hands, my hands
in loose fists.

Let my                                                     words
run your diamond
path. Give me my place
in the tango,
that stomping clump.
I will take
the first count of five
and go where I need to
These are my:
1) words
2) gestures of sound
3) feathers
4) flickers
5) beads-on-a-string

Some of this section refers to rehearsal notes from Hannah Dennison, the choreographer of Dear Pina,.



I wrote this after seeing a dance performance by that name, choreographed by Hannah Dennison, in honor of the late Pina Bausch.

This is my
grandmother’s suitcase.
It’s mine now:
a blue apron,
sensible shoes,
a string of amber beads.
I know how to speak.
To get up I fall down.

Inside this skull
the shadows flicker.
The bones
are locked with words,
The shadows jabber.
Too many chairs.

I can watch, O yes.
I will watch for hours.
Teach me to run,
to sweat,
teach me
to breathe.
I gesture madly
with ink on my hands.
Give me satin dresses,
give me high heels.
My fingers hurt.
Give me fire and
I want lemons
and a yellow scarf.

Open me to swallows,
the light behind the walls.

Please, please.
I cannot stop crying.
Please.  I never
learned to dance.





It’s the oldest way–
how babies curl and flail,
how they gaze.

Later we spin and stretch,
point and reach,
stamp, tumble, pound.

We could manage without sound–
lift our arms for joy,
round our backs for shame.

as possible.


Anger, so basic
a mouse could do it:
teeth and claws,
a dashing forward,
no brakes, no sense,
extending everything.


one silent note.

to ground opened for flowers
or bones,
arms across a belly
empty again,
and dropping apart,
trailing sand,
through mirrors and rags,
over bridges built of lemons
and rungs of broken chairs,

opening to something
that cannot be said,
or sung, or spelled, or heard,
or held, or held
only once.




The Russians and the Americans dance the best.
They are the elegant dancers of the world.
French women dance beautifully.

Some of the critics have said
that only Germans, Russians and Americans
can dance the valse a deux temps,

the most beautiful of dances.
The Germans dance it very quickly
with a great deal of motion

but render it elegant
by slacking the pace every now and then.
The Russians waltz so quietly

that they can go round the room
holding a brimming glass of champagne
without spilling a drop.

Young Americans achieve this step
to admiration.  The Pole is known
by his violent dancing.  There is heartiness

in the dancing of the Swedes and Danes,
there is mettle in the heels,
but no people caper like the Poles.

~found in Manners and Social Usages,
by Mrs. John Sherwood (author of “A Transplanted Rose”)

1884, revised in 1897