Robin Wyatt Dunn

Dancer

I got word I was to dance so that was what I did. The brick on the thoroughfare provides protection from the cold; it absorbs heat during the day.


I vibrated and moved my feet, swung my neck, catcalled, dancing, next to the bricks, for an hour, and then I got word:

 

You got to find someone.

 

Who I got to find?

 

Some woman.

 

What woman?

 

A big one.

 

So I went looking. Find me a big woman who knew what she needed, maybe knew what I did too.

 

I found her under the 7-11, smoking her pipe, and I said:

 

“Hey, howya doing?” And she said, “You know what you need? It’s the ties that bind. What you need is family.”

 

Well my family’s been gone a long time so I said: “You right, you right.”

 

And she said, “You can make family, if you want to.”

 

And then I got word, said, dance, so that’s what I did, into the night.

 

Each day, I get orders, each night too, except for the dreams. In dreams, I’m free.

 

Over the sidewalks and under the eaves, of the city’s buildings, I do this:

 

I wait. I listen. I hear. And then, I try to do what is asked.

 

Though, it ain’t really a question.

 

Get the hard stuff, it said one time.

 

That’s not an easy thing to do. What do I want with it? Got through with that shit. But you have to do what you have to do; I know that.

 

Had to borrow from a friend, a friend I didn’t like to borrow from. Don’t know how I’ll pay him back.

 

This man, he’s the one I want, I hear, when I get to the pusher.

 

I buy from him, and then I see, in his eyes, what they mean: he’s got something nasty.

 

What are these energies, streaming through the world?

 

I nod my head, and I bring the hard stuff to the big woman, and she smiles like she knows what it’s all about. But when I sleep that night all I see are the pusher’s eyes, and I think: I’ve got to do something.

 

I stand around under the eaves, doing my dance, on a new corner, near the pusher, watching him, watching his hat, watching his teeth, his feet.

 

I go over, and I tell, hey, brother, got a bigger something I got to buy, come over here.

 

And I’ve never done it before, or not for a long time, but I beat him. I beat him hard. I beat him so hard, and I saw in his eyes, the thing, what they wanted, fly into the air, like a bird of paradise, orange and light, and then I ran and jumped a train.

 

All these words; all these cities. I got to move on.

 

You ever ask yourself: where do these voices come from?

 

They come from God. But where does God come from?

 

He comes from us.

 

But what I want to know is: why do I keep doing the things I be doing? What path do I set for my life, as I endure these avenues and these songs?

 

Though my song be red, I shall sing it, and be redeemed.

 

Like a long goodbye over the red sunset. Like the blood in my heart.