1055: Dancing at The Get Down by Cat Wei

1055: Dancing at The Get Down by Cat Wei

1055: Dancing at The Get Down by Cat Wei


I’m Major Jackson and this is The Slowdown.

Recently, my seventy-three-year-old father called to tell me how much fun he had at a local dance club. I was envious. He used to swim daily, but after health challenges, getting on the dancefloor, beneath swirling lights among deep shadows, is his preferred workout. Physical benefits aside, I think he also likes the attention of younger people at his moves. At weddings, family surround him and marvel.

Today’s poem exquisitely examines the healing space of the dancefloor, where a purifying circle of joy awaits us.

Dancing at The Get Down
by Cat Wei

there is a snowstorm outside    & inside the floor is full of people	   	          & the bright 
discolight twinkles surrounded by four smaller orbs like Jupiter	      and its moons / Under 
its galilean orbit / its glitter cascade we	       are in outer space / The lights pulse blue and purple 
and silver	       & DJ tasha is a nebula over our atmosphere / We throw ourselves to the drums 
& our fingers are sunrays our laughter the flashes of comets / It is Thursday		  & we are a 
living kaleidoscope folding into our Mondays and out again 

/ The man in red tights and harness hoists a tambourine / On the dancefloor rings an unbearable 
call you’ve got the love		        	     & we pray to the barrel drum strapped to the waist    of the 
young man with the faded jeans / For a moment   	   he is a god & the echoes go deeper than June 
/ There is a river on Mars	           chiseled with rain 	     cracked like a lip	   	  like wanting hewn 
into the millennium / There is a girl in an orange skirt who hikes it up to her knees and rolls her
neck wildly	 like a hurricane	     like monsoon season in wet and dry times / It is more than 
hair and sweat we are flinging / When I'm dancing      I do not think about my father working long 
past dinnertime	         or my mother purchasing reams of toilet paper on sale / I do not listen for 
tomorrow’s alarm reminding me to face the morning cold 

/ Do you hear the sound of feet chanting? I say           I always love a good party but this is our 
names forgetting our names	     our bodies reclaiming our bodies our hearts      remembering our 
ancestors cowered fireside in the forest	         held by the sound of a flicker / We are planets 
                  & the contours of our breath are pulling a new milky way across the sky	   & no one 
races for the exit at the last song / We open our mouths like drinking rain      & no one wears heels 
on this dancefloor / There is plenty of room on this dancefloor for the girl in the golden dress
                  to leap into her lover’s arms / On the edges     in the shadow   I listen for the wail and pitch 
as we work ourselves into a frenzy / There’s something about darkness / Sometimes	       before
bedtime I turn off the lights and light a candle just to feel the dark closing in / The flame 
is a living thing	         a hot / a wild	    / and burning.

"Dancing at The Get Down" by Cat Wei. Used by permission of the poet.