Dancing in the Basement (a poem)

Dancing in the basement silently,
I wonder if they can hear the echoes
up above. My feet pounding in beat with their blood
and the music in my mind of the most sublime beauty.
If they hear me do they wonder about my identity,
or do they even know to ask the question?

And I wonder what sort of question
they'd ask me if they found me silently
dancing. Would they care if my identity
didn't match my face? Would the echoes
of my presence in this place mar the beauty
of their day like a handkerchief stained in blood?

And it all does come back to blood,
I think to myself as I ask these questions.
Too distracted by these suggestions to see the beauty
of myself dancing in the basement silently,
I can only rage at my own echoes
because they just add to the mystery of my identity.

But can something as complex as who I am be identified

in strands of DNA swimming in my blood?
Is that the way that echoes
of our souls are recorded? I have to question
that things we define in words can be captured silently
as if they have meaning when one man's ugly is another's beauty.

And am I still a man if I want to be beautiful,
or does a swipe of rouge negate an identity
that is as constructed as a library? Silence
is my only answer. Is a woman still a woman if she doesn't bleed?
Does sex matter if you'll never breed? I question
how these things have meaning when our words are just echoes.

But Plato was wrong in calling poetry echoes
of echoes, because the original sound doesn't exist. Beauty
subsists because we made it. We question
how we fit into these frameworks of identity
we've built. My mind is made of words even if blood
is what made my body. My world begins to tilt silently.

And so I question the source of these echoes
if silence came before we knew beauty
and if my identity is not in my blood.


Peeta, thank you so much for sharing that. Loved it.

I really liked this and the ambiguity of the meaning. Is dancing in the basement a metaphor for human life with what's "above" being spiritual? Is the silent dance in the basement more like being in the closet? What's the identity struggle that's going on? Don't answer those questions, though. I like having something to ponder.

Thanks. I actually began mentally composing it while literally working out in the basement of my building and I was able to hear people upstairs, but there was greater meaning to it than that!

Wow, Peeta, really good. I felt like I was in the basement, dancing, worrying about echoes. Freaked me out a bit. Really well written.

Maybe you'd like the (translated, unless you can speak Greek) writings of Titos Patrikios. His works have a similar effect on me.

Quote Originally posted by spitz View post
I felt like I was in the basement, dancing, worrying about echoes.
Yeah, I got that, too. The repetition of words in a sestina (silently/echoes/question, etc. being in each stanza) really worked well for the descriptions.