Terence Curtis delivers prose of vivid imagery describing a chance encounter with romantic crush at local bar and disco. The Alum Rock Writer’s Group lauded this poem as one of his best ever.

by T. Curtis

Green go-lights and orange glow lights — red HO DEA on the night’s black skyline. Clang! Clang! Clang! Slides the slow giant python on nearby rail. Below my feet the solemn concrete bridge lies dormant as agitated water jogs beneath. Voices in the shadows call out the names of drug dealers, drunks and prostitutes like fly fishers casting line. A sudden howl fills the sky as an unseen dragon roars overhead. I walk determined and cautious, looking occasionally over my shoulder for fellow travelers. And bandits. Stopping every 20 yards under a torch, pausing to record these things as my fingers stubble and pluck magic tiles on my electronic journal.

It’s nearly midnight as I meander through this urban wilderness on my way to swim in a strobe-lit pool of drunken merriment and muddy intoxicated lust. Down paths paved true and purposeful. Alongside an extended parade of carefully aligned trees above which buzzes madly an unseen entity of light and blue lightning. I increase my pace after a quick glance over my shoulder. Onward to the drink and the dance.

Upon approaching towering pinnacles of steel and glass, two foxes pass, gekkering, while I watch in appreciation. There is no danger in this meeting. I keep my rhythm, and ground. My destination is near, just across a couple asphalt rivers. The distant fires of my goal illuminate the sky and treetops. The shuddering and rumbling building can be heard in the distance. Not far now. I complete an additional couple dozen yards. The lit doorway is revealed through the pinnacles and trees.

I breach the corner of the clearing to observe townsfolk gathered outside the venue chatting in small circles and wielding miniature torches. They are unruffled by my approach and I pass unnoticed. Inside, I make for the nearest side of the bar. The barkeep and I exchange nods before he slides me a potion. Vodka. It’s cold and mildly bitter — pleasantly delicious. I manage to take a corner and settle in to watch the hatters, batters, swingers and spinners. To drink a series of drinks until the spells take their effect. I am affected.

The room, no longer full, is swollen and my corner, invaded. Solitude is no longer an option. I am compelled to mingle just before a familiar face commands me by her smile to join her in dance. I comply and begin to shuffle like a bear crossing a field of pinecones. Eventually, the drums embrace me like a hammock and I begin to swing gently until awareness of my valet drifts. Flashing red fireflies in the rafters above captivate my bloodshot eyes. I am in a state and easily mesmerized. Glistening confetti falls from the mirrored moon hanging in the center of the chamber. I collect images and impulses of lust: the frayed arcing edge of short tight-white shorts around a smooth cocoa leg; apple red lips emerging from a frazzle of night colored hair; pert nipples suffocated beneath taught cotton… I spin. The lights spin. The room spins. Melodic chanting, drums, and harmonies crash like waves over a lake of willows and carbon-water pillars. The room rocks to and fro within the tumultuous waves of sound. I spin. I rock. I become the whirlpool of lightness and the darkness. I become the music.

An hour passes.

She has arrived. In a group, rather than alone. I find the unexpected flesh-baffles to be an annoyance and pause to study, to search for a flaw in its structure. And through it, through the shuffling ramparts, she smiles at her companions and eventually at me. I tingle in a manner more intense than the drink has achieved. Beyond the capability of the music’s libation. The vodka is merely a gateway — this intimacy is my addiction. I convulse inwardly with a craving for her until I can no longer refrain. I circle their circle to an unguarded opening to deliver a remise of a greeting and casual embrace. Our brief words are lost. I look into her eyes searching until she abandons me. I watch, momentarily stoned, as she is consumed and lost in the flock.

Gay roosters strut by. Collectives of minx and foxes canter. Hooded hipsters sulk through. Heifers and chromosome-lacking whatnots ripple and coagulate. While I stand, an unconscripted sentry, motionless in the rapids of the micro-migrations of townsfolk from one side of the room to the other. Waiting for her return. Wanting for her return….

She returns within her entourage. Each of them adorned with smiles and gaiety. The evening has aroused them with dance. They dance as a group. Slowly gyrating towards me. My desire to embrace her impotent with anticipation. Closer. Closer. She is within an arms reach, facing me with her back. Within my stupor, I inventory every inch of her — from the top of her straw-colored head to the ends of her painted toes. I am yet to be satiated. Then, as if hearing my thoughts, she turns, her eyes smiling. Her lips smiling. She dances towards me with her arms outstretched and convulsing like the serpents of Medusa’s head. For the briefest of moments the fingertips of her hands cradle my face. I implode with exhilaration.