A Thousand Dancing Ballerinas
Posted on July 21, 2011
The blue of the night sky. The drip, drip, drip from an ancient eaves trough. The yellow glare of cracked lights upon the worn, greedy, jumbled stones. Walls of buildings slant and slope like drunken men stumbling through drunken streets a thousand years ago. I blend in more with the streets than I do with the men. I am more rock than blood. The whole place shines, every cobbled-stone, every tumbled brick, every faded door and each and every rotted iron balustrade as though it were oiled down and ready for the show. The great big show of time. And there I sit, in the middle of time, amidst its active waters and heedless winds, amidst its hungry stare and smoky breath. There I sit smoking a cheap cigar, the peach blunts kind, blowing clouds of cheap smoke into oncoming headlights on the ancient battlefield. It winds up into the blue night sky like a thousand dancing ballerinas all dressed in vibrant grey.
The same puppy peeks his head out the small hole in the cracked hundred-year-old door. He ventures out into the dangerous streets of man. He knows nothing. I am jealous. He looks clean, and curious and awake and perfect. I roll the cigar in between my jaded finger tips. I feel the tobacco leaves crunch beneath the pressure. Cars drive by, breaking though my field of smoke like some obese runner on some historic track in some obscure memory. They drive by and scare the puppy. He runs back into his hovel with a boyish whimper. I worry for him. I wonder what kind life he can have in these penniless, worn paths. In these archaic doorways where archaic people make archaic decisions and they are happy. In these happy streets and happy rooms where nights disappear into time with no regret. I wonder what kind of life he will have here.
The same baby giggles and cries and whines and laughs and the sounds carry on the wind with my dancing ballerinas to a far off place resembling the future. A million doors line a million streets and the baby is everywhere. A thousand babies have one voice. I start to feel the heat of my cigar ember as it burns down through itself towards me. It is cheap so it burns fast. I am alone and so I suck away at it more than I need to. I suck as the baby whines and our actions become one in the sands of Latin America. I wonder what kind of life that baby can have. I wonder about the sailors and drinkers and fighters and workers and poets and paupers who smoked cigars on these light year streets light years ago and listened to that baby’s parents giggle and cry and whine and laugh. The ballerinas dance. The show goes on. The great big show of time.
The street women scampers with her crooked spine down the crooked alley screaming nothing screams to a nothing audience. No one hears but me. Maybe the puppy hears but the puppy has her figured out already. I am far from that. I have figured out my cigar, my cup of dirt red wine and my parchment shirt. Beyond that I am lost. She makes her way like some misshaped stone down the beach, rolling in the waters, bouncing, fighting, scraping the basement of the world. She does not wonder about anything because she knows everything. She knows the depths of the oceans and the heights of the heavens. She has climbed the ladders of the world with her zig zag gate. She walks with a crutch but it has no purpose. No purpose outside sympathy, delusion, food and a hat full of coins. I wonder where she got it.
The two military men with their military strut and long, shiny, backslide machine guns, walk over to me, the boy with the short cigar. The boy with the short fuse who watches the street woman with the short left leg. They smell the tobacco, the smell the fear, the ignorance, the youth. They smell with their military noses my bohemian cup filled with bohemian drink on those bohemian city streets. Drip, drip, drip from the ancient eaves trough onto the stone long eroded with garbage and rain and water and dusty steps of dusty people. The street woman gallops off into fate’s dark swallows. Fate gulps her up. I can see the bottom of my glass through the small amount of wine still left in my cup like a wise man sees the bottom of the ocean from his small tin skiff. It swashes around before his glassy eyes and he contemplates it, wonders how it came to be and how it will ever, ever come to pass. He gulps it up. The machine guns follow the crooked tread into the throws of fate and its big, wide, slobbery mouth saying ‘awe’.
I sit in front of a hulking, bombed-out church. Walls crumbling before my eyes and making the ground higher with resentment. The dust of stone blowing off into the blue night wind. Its doors are long gone, its roof is long gone, its floors are gone and its people are gone. But its memory lives and its command lives and its pulsing, cold body lives. Purple lights placed by modern man for modern tourists shine garishly upon its grand skin insultingly. The yellow moon battles the purple lights in a never ending chromatic debate. My thousand dancing ballerinas dance with a thousand more who danced throughout the sunrises and sunsets of sorry, forgotten, ageless ages. Like some tank, like some beast, like some scolding father or teacher who knows-it-all, that bombed-out church changes the night as the wind finds its way around it. A thousand ghosts rise up from the oiled, shiny, tumbled, jumbled stones to greet me and greet the puppy of youth and the screaming, contorted woman of fate. They shake my smokey hand and kiss my wine-soaked lips. A thousand ghosts with a million memories and million more concerns all parade their way down those yellow, moonlit alleys and haunt a million more thin-skinned, happy dreams.
A puddle ripples as they hover by. My eye catches it. The fuzzy puppy is gone. The bent women is gone. The confident military men are gone. It is me and the buildings of time. I dash my burning hot peach blunt missile into the ruffled spectating waters and move on beneath that blue night sky. The hiss of hot hitting cold pierces the still air like a godly arrow from some golden bow far beyond the heavens. Rubber tires rumble on those rubble stone streets. I go against the grain, blending in with those rubble stone streets back to my hovel. The drip, drip, drip and the scamper, scamper, scamper and the whines and the giggles and ghost’s cries and the peach hiss remind me of my lonely keyboard and its lonely letters waiting to be worn away with vain musings and inept observations. My fuzzy thoughts and bent memories and confident stare guide me falsely through those ruffled waters of time. Falsely towards that finish line. Those vibrant, smokey scenes of a colonial venue masterpiece will raise forever before my glassy eyes like a thousand dancing ballerinas all dressed in vibrant grey.∗