Just Ribbing

Did he think of it as birthing or purging when he tore me out of himself? It was hard to tell.

No sooner did he fixate on what he loved in me–the beauty, the softness, the fragility–than did he gag at reminder that it had once been a part of him. Then he sighed in relief that it was all now apart from him. As if he didn’t have more ribs where those came from. As if we weren’t made of the same bones.

And I thought: what a self-loathing creature to draw such a wall between what he loves and what he hopes to be.

But maybe that moment of shock was when he became determined to see no reflection of himself in whatever came out of him. His colorful musings were Pure Reason. His sappy tunes and poetry, Straight from God. 

Of course, anyone else could see otherwise, but I didn’t have the ribs to break it to him. Yet. When it came to the baby, though, we had to talk.

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A Dance About Nothing

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to make a dance about nothing. She had made dances before, about people and thoughts and pains and places and days and words and feelings. But now, she thought, would be her time to make a dance about nothing at all.

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She decided to start off by making some shapes, as pure and plane as can be, unblemished by a reason. She was sure she could do it; there were infinite points for her to touch before needing touch upon why. But every triangle she made started to feel too much like love, every square too much like time–with a glacial rush though it–every pentagon too much like war. This was not a dance about nothing, she realized.

So she tried again to cut the dance off from her mind and its clutter, and directing it with a roll of dice. She tossed the dice in the air, pretending the motion didn’t ignite flickering wishes, prayers and fears over the landing. She ignored the way the clattering of dice on the table brought back backgammon games under little clouds of smoke and politics. She read the faces, noted the steps, and eagerly rolled again, as if she never knew of livelihoods consumed by addiction to chance procedures. She tried not to enjoy the strangely delicious sense of freedom that came in stripping herself of all agency. Maybe this wasn’t a dance about nothing, she admitted.

A dance truly about nothing, she decided, would not move: not a soul, not a heart, not a muscle, not an inch. So she didn’t. She stood still, silent, and centered in the empty room. She thought she might finally be on to nothing.

But in her stillness, the breeze from outside found space to creep in, stirring her bones from the inside. So she closed the windows. You need closed windows to make a dance about nothing.

But slivers of rogue air still slipped through the cracks and into her system. They tasted just a little smoky this time, like half-assed eyeshadow or fading cigarette butts. So she shut her eyes and mouth and ears and nose. You need a closed nose to make a dance about nothing.

The air outside grew hotter and thicker, but she remained uninterrupted in her pristine stillness. You need to not notice to make a dance about nothing.

The Fantasy Pedestrian

I find it a little bit funny when dance people, usually of the postmodern sort, use the word “pedestrian” to refer to their cleanly-crafted arrangements of steps, lines, and gestures. As if that could be placed in the the same category as the confused and unruly gaggle of walkers who complicate the walking path from the train to the studio.

Inside that pristine world, pedestrians move with intention and a clear, deliberate focus.

Out here, only half the pedestrians seem to really know where they’re going. Most of the rest bow their heads down their Google Maps for guidance, making the occasional 180 when they realize that the pointer on their screen isn’t quite oriented to this earth.

In there, pedestrians use simple movement to demonstrate an awareness and skillful use of time and space.

Out here, pedestrians walk way too slow until they realize that they need to pummel through the crowd in a fit of lateness. They walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk. They stop to think about how they’re on the wrong side of the sidewalk. They spend seven seconds deliberating over whether they can cross that crosswalk in time, and five seconds actually crossing it (the last three to a chorus of impatient car honks).

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In there, pedestrians cross each others paths calm with acknowledgement, drawing intricate floor patterns which just so happen to fall into the open spaces between their peers.

Out here, pedestrians manage to bump into each other even when they’re going the same direction, setting off a sprinkle of curses and dirty looks.

In there, all pelvises hang in a delicate “neutrality,” the kind you engineer through years of careful micro-engagements and releases.

Out here, pelvises sway and slouch and jut and twist and teeter and bounce and jitter. They’re pelvises that hold histories and pains and desires and fears that might tip them on way or another–and who’s to say if they ever knew a default state before all that weight?

In there, we imagine that pedestrians walk with no affectations down a street with no name and no homes and no real estate. There’s no fairies or princesses, but don’t be mistaken: we’re looking at a distant fantasy land.