Ballroom Dancing Lessons For the Dead

A seedy neighborhood in Hades
Shabby streetcars groan
And squeal on Nowhere Boulevard
Madame Putchky winds up a Victrola
Drops its needle into wax and listens
Hissing like a fire made of cellophane
Lester teases blue notes smooth as silk
Slowly they decay into the hall
Empty box with shiny floor
Massive mirrors cloak each wall
Smiling now she wipes away
Some wrinkles from her gown
Soon the students will ascend
On sagging metal steps
Shuffle through the door
What they failed to do in life
They’ll do forever more

ElLagarto ElLagarto
56-60, M
6 Responses Jul 14, 2007

I'd have to research "Melpomene" but I do have a vignette on "Tchoupitoulas". On one of my many visits to NOLA I asked a cabdriver to take me to Tchoupitoulas Street and pronounced it correctly. He stopped the cab, turned around and said, "You from 'round here man?" I said, "No, I'm from Philly." He said, "I never heard no tourist say Tchoupitoulas like it supposed to be said." I smiled and said, "Language is my thing, brother, I listen." I had made a friend for life.

That is me - some here think I look like a witch in this pic (so, I really appreciate your compliment!) - I could bewitch them but I don't think I look like a witch. As a Scorpio, I do retain a certain mysterious power and no, I'm not conceited, it just took me a while to get a healthy self-esteem. I am from New Orleans and I love the analogy of riding the streetcars through the city like a river and as you know, a mighty river runs alongside our streetcars on a large portion of the route. Anyway, thanks for bringing back memories - PS: So, you can spell Terpsichore, but can you pronounce it? How about these El - Melpomene and Tchoupitoulas. Alas, I know you are an educated man and you know the meaning of these names. Cheerio!

Startle: Every time I look at your avatar I wonder - Yikes! - is that actually her? If so - what a great beauty you are!<br />
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I have spent most of my life in Philadelphia. Like many of the "older" East Coast cities it grew up around carriages, and then trains. Philly has a massive streetcar system (disappearing now, sadly, when we need public transit most). As a younger person, (in various states of health and Manic Depressive extremes), I loved to ride the trolleys day and night - to me they were a magic river flowing from one end of the city to the other - and back.) For $1 you could get an astonishing journey unavailable any other way.<br />
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To be fair, New Orleans is my favorite American city and they have the most gorgeous, dark green streetcars with names like "Desire" and "Terpsichore" - can't beat that!<br />
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Thanks for reading! And thanks for the encouraging words.

Shabby streetcars groan - are they in New Orleans? I too, love your imagery - keep it coming Lezard

Thanks! In 2005 I only wrote one poem - that was it.

wow. i love your imagery; "what they failed to do in life/they'll do forever more" that's really great!