(15/07/56 / Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, Eire.)

Come Dancing

I take the skeleton’s hand
& man...do we dance?

I clasp his bony hand in mine
give him a high five and dude...we jive!

No one can touch us now
(we’re in a world of our own) .

We shake, rattle ‘n’ roll...yeah!
Shake, rattle ‘n’ roll
(then we)
Git into dat kitchen ‘n’ rattle ‘em pots ‘n’ pans
Den den den...den den den!

The skeleton flashes me a toothy grin.

“Man...you the one...you the one...what a groove...we’re in! ”

The transistorised air is alive as song after song drives me on.

The skeleton don’t break sweat!
Me...my scalp prickles...sweat trickles down my spine.

Sunlight spills in the window
& the dust motes go wild.

The skeleton places a bony hand on my clavicle
& I place my hand on his sacroiliac.

We waltz eye socket to eye socket
& patella to patella.

Gene Kelly sings:

What a great day it’s been... what a rare mood I’m in
Why it’s... almost like being in love!

He’s a fine medical specimen.

He dangles from a thread in his head
& the slightest breeze moves him
...gets him going.

I call him Mr. Bo Jangles.

He lives in my Dad’s army sport stores.

From the inner sanctum of his room
my Dad’s army voice booms:

”Donall...leave that bloody skeleton alone! ”

And goes back to counting his balls.

The ledger grows & grows.
(He mutters & mumbles to himself) .

“Balls...soccer...50? ...50! ”
“Balls... rugby...50? ...50! ”
“Balls...medicine...50? ...50! ”

he intones as if chanting a mantra.

I shuffle out...trying to be cool
(in this heat?)

“Yo, see ya later Bo! ”

Years later I see him
in a tiny newspaper article.

Apparently the Army
realise they’ve got a real life skeleton on their hands

& decide to do the decent thing
(remembering the man he’d been)

& bury him

with full military honours

flag draped coffin
& shots fired into the air to scare the crows away.

I wish I could have...been there.

Say my goodbyes.

I smile & whisper
a little prayer:

”Yo, see ya later...Bo! ”

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Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken

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