Volume 1, Number 5 -- December, 1996

Before the Groove

I start out stiff and uncoordinated
as if I am dancing in front of my parents,
or passing out first-drafts
to stringent critics.

I know one cannot separate
the dancer from the dance,
or remove the shape of the crisp high hat
from the fingers which snap snap snap,
but I know you will peer past the words
of this frightening first verse,
forming conclusions of the dancer's techniques;
passing judgment on style and rhythm.

I cannot commit to the
necessary nothing of form
knowing you will recognize me,
like the beat of that one song,
by a manner
manifested in quantified meter.

I am subject to your scansion.

Your scrutiny
forces my eyes down
and I stare at my two left feet,
with pen in hand,
tip skip skipping
wondering when the uneasiness shall fade out.

But soon the break beats begin
forming bass lines of alliteration,
and my parents no longer watch me dance,
and my critics no longer make me
feel like my words won't work.

I begin to write.

by Jason Stephens jason@hooked.net

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