The Dance of the Terrible Middle

The Dance of the Terrible Middle

Caught in the terrible middle of the animal,
in the white nerve of my sleeping grandfather,
I go with the signs of night in a straight line,
eluding the contented star animals,
breathing with the transformation of their high place.

The high mountains are my prison,
the fear of your love my punishment.
I occasionally give in to thoughts of you.
The ghost of your memory is in my center.

We are separate, but
in each of us is the house
where both of us live.

In the table of your hair,
in the locked room,
to the living heart of the beast,
we come for charity.

The sweet scent of reason
dances to my middle self.
It is of the moon,
but equally of books––
a mongrel with its tail between its legs
howling a mortal solo of our split lives
and our separate deaths.

The rolling body of the star,
my body spinning to the paradox
of what I could believe in––
the faded ochre of the one truth of your friendship,
the disparate truth of my grandfather.

All out of line, unparallel.
Lover with your full nights’ sleep
and half of your life lost to this sleep,
you dream of three futures while
I dance the tango of the terrible middle.

For dVerse Poets Fragment Poem

25 thoughts on “The Dance of the Terrible Middle

  1. Ain Starlingsson, forestbathing hermit

    I really liked that style. I remember David Bowie saying he wrote songs by collecting thoughts in scrapbooks that chopping them, line by line, and organising them. So well done.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Yes, I know people who put them in a box and draw them out randomly. Actually, that was a technique suggested to me by a very famous poet once, in a workshop. I followed it for awhile, not find the prompts serve the same purpose.

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  2. Laura Bloomsbury

    Such brilliant imagination Judy and so much marvellous imagery dancing about – with all sorts of emotion that strike the middle the way emotions hit us in the stomach.
    p.s. a very nice example of Fragment poetry though title should really include Fragment(s) as per the prompt 😉

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Eilene. This was actually a poem I wrote 35 years ago that never made it onto my computer or blog. I found it in an old chapbook made for a writer’s workshop way back then. I typed it into a Word document, chopped and rearranged and it seemed to work for this prompt.

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  3. SAM VOELKER

    Sorry, it missed me completely~! But maybe after a couple more drinks, it will start making sense to me; I am very tired right now, Like when I have what I consider a great REM idea around three in the morning and I quickly jot down notes on the pad next to my bed. So in the morning, I am ready to turn it into a masterpiece~! But then it no longer makes sense to me at all~!

    Sometimes I feel that there is something “wrong with me” when modern verse just misses me completely, but I try not to let that bother me,,, To each his own~! I have a very good friend in San Antonio and we both agree that each of us is not impressed with what the other one likes. I do go to some of their readings but I am seldom impressed, but that is OK because they do not like mine either~!

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  4. robtkistner

    Judy, this is so beautifully evocative, so full of mystery, of a truth locked deep in that middle, perhaps too dangerous to fully expose, were it to engulf you — and perhaps in so doing, set you free, as that rolling body of the star. Such wonderful and challenging imagery herein… I love it!

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