The homecoming dance for my high school occurred this past Friday night. The dance was a "black light and neon" format, so kids were coming in white or neon colors so that they showed up brilliantly in the black light. I had fun checking outfits for school-appropriateness and embarrassing students when I told them they couldn't pass me until they'd proven they knew how to dance by showing me their signature dance moves. I was doing this job as a chaperone when one of my Creative Writing students "assigned" me some homework: "Write a poem about the dance by Monday, Miss Schneider," said Aaron T.
Since the dance had been going on for a while, and I was just standing in the doorway as the "bouncer and self-proclaimed dance-move checker" anyway, I decided to write the poem then and there. I grabbed a notebook from my purse and the pen from the lanyard around my neck and began to compose my poem. The principal and several students came by to check on my progress, and one even gave me the idea for the title. Before the end of the dance, my poem was finished. Here it is...
"A Handful of Dances"
(thanks for the title to Seth R.)
Students glowing with neon fire
Stand in groups of three or five
While beats pound unmercifully dire
Upon my ears, and, lands alive!
The smell of nerves, of dance, of sweat--
Not unlike that of an old, wet dog--
Assaults my lungs with odor, and yet,
Fills the air with a pluming fog.
Lights blaze and strobe and blind the eyes
With pink and green and orange and blue;
The black lights give us quite a surprise
When they turn all things white a ghostly hue.
The students jump and spin and whirl
Or stand like stones against the wall.
The boys dare each other to ask the girl
Whom they've only seen out in the hall.
The songs progress from slow to fast
And back again from fast to slow;
The dancers beg the DJ to make it last,
For alas, too soon, it's time to go.