Break Dancing

by Kyle Hemmings

They could not stop dancing. The jig, the polka, or something more intimate. She thought about holding coins and waking up somewhere, Amsterdam, Warsaw, or Beijing, with deep impressions in that same hand. The boy felt lighter than a flock of birds flying in the shape of a beard. It belonged to a laughing fat man. It belonged to no one. The boy thought of her as precious fleece—he, the Argonaut of rescue, the Jason of sheer desire. Her father, who believed that life must be lived standing still, tried to end the affair. But the boy and girl danced blindly, fell out of their respective windows. They disguised themselves by singing in the wrong key. They spun across pastures of dreamy sheep. They spun over cliffs, rock shelters, faces carved in limestone. They fell freestyle, grounding themselves to airborne ideals of how they could move to dub step. They landed at the edge of sandstone and sea. The beach was honey-colored and scarred with wet fingers. The bodies pulled by the sea, magnanimous tide. Blue Damsels scurried. Jellyfish rolled. A deep heave at the bottom of the ocean. An octopus or a drunken Argonaut. Welcome. There were Gorgonian chants. There was music and footprints.

Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and prose: Avenue C, Cat People, and Anime Junkie (Scars Publications). His latest e-books are You Never Die in Wholes from Good Story Press and The Truth about Onions from Good Samaritan. He lives and writes in New Jersey.

Can you talk a bit about the genesis of this piece?

    The piece began as a response to a Sunday prompt posted by Rich Osgood in The Flash Factory at Zoetrope. We were given several words to incorporate. One of them was the word, spin. The image of two young people dancing came to mind. The two are very much in love against a parent’s wishes. I toyed with two motifs I often associate with life: dancing and the sea. And although the sea is sometimes associated with death, as in old sailors’ tales, as in opening up and swallowing one, in this piece, for me, it represented the idea of life, and perhaps, an eternity where one could live out one’s dreams. I also toyed with the idea as life as an eternity of rhythm, a rebellion against anything that will keep us motionless. I added a mythic element to the piece, alluding to Jason and the Argonauts, the search for the Golden Fleece, which in this piece might be considered a search for love–at once, adolescent, carefree, yet eternal. There is a kind of tension or dichotomy here of life vs. physical death, of love over spilling boundaries vs. society and restrictions. The piece ends with the lovers falling into the sea where there is music and footsteps. Life, we like to think, will go on. Perhaps the footsteps belong to the lovers. Perhaps, they are our own.
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