Waltzing With The Past.....Pts 1&2
Even when I was young,
by John Tansey
societies rising sun,
waltzing the moon in ballrooms
‘til it’s milk curdled under a yawning light.
A terse firm tart, flirting curfews
and groping life, I lusted to love
with my most feminine feature …
the youthful smoothness of my fingers;
long slender thimbles of nerve,
upon which I spun a stable of men.
Snapping my nails, they’d come
fumbling with lighters, cocktails
and shucked clamshells.
Oh, with my blood red tips
dipped in white gloves
for the affairs of black tie, among others;
I would stand, stroking
the shaft of a champagne glass.
Laughing amid clouds of smoke, big bands
and tables of beef bones and banter.
Hailing young suitors with a gesture,
coyly stroking my hair, I flirted with strangers
and, as long-stemmed roses, soon
rid my garden of such thorny lovers.
To a debutante on her eightieth birthday
Now old, joints arthritic,
Skin callused and sagging
Like weathered eaves, dirty
Finger nails bitten and broken.
The loud parties are over,
But the wine stays with me
And the hangovers linger
Longer than the sweetened memories
A stroke has left my right side numb
The muscke spasms and involuntary shaking
these nerve ending earthquakes
shatter what’s left of my body
From the classic, choreographed grace
Of a young society girl,
Her hand, enticing a younger man
To kiss me when I wore a prettier face
Now, shamelessly, wearing clothes
I am too old for.
Walking into the bathroom,
I face the mirror.
And what remains,
fumbling with my makeup
I Pick up a razor, and slicing
my finger, unaware,
I apply its ruby red gloss to my lips
8/18/2002 John Thomas Tansey