Hot down, cool up. Teaching my sister to dance.

by Astra Bloom

Winner of the Bare Fiction Prize for Poetry 2015

Hot down, cool up, that’s what I say to R when we’re dancing.
Go Marjorie! For a joke, I say.
Dancin in our living room, dancin up a storm. We shake it.
She has a bum like a pork pie, apple round in her faded levi’s.
Flares ragged, bare, brown disciple feet,
burnin-truth curls, love-story lips.
Soft soft soft furious soft brown eyes. Her psoriasis hasn’t started yet,
next year that comes, but now, at this point,
she is smooth as the laurel hedge, one million times kissable.

She is a total jigger, fast, fast, fast. Groooo-vee, we say.
I’m weirder, more dancin in the arms. We work well together.
The front room loves our moves in it. We are blitzin out all the yell-kick-shit
in the air. All the tears still being sipped at by that chair.
All the toss-bollock-stress-whack crawling over the sofa, in those sofa cracks,
behind all the cushions reeling and sagged.

We do the dizzy, we put in some juice. Girls dancing. Girls happy and darin and dancin
all over, this makes a room grow.
Brown aint brown no more, the carpet can play at bein cream shag pile
tickling our eel feet. TV the dictator, can go fuck itself,
we don’t heed it, pretendin it’s a bar, right there. The lamp on its top, the ugly vase, they’re cocktail glasses, yellow and pink umbrellas floating.
We’re in 70’s glam world, only for dancin, just for dancin.
Lectric fire ugly as sin, can not grin its fire-spit teeth no more,
We’ve hypnotized its glowin light so it’s our Exit door.

The real door’s shut. She by a miracle – that’s the power of the dance
– she don’t open it, don’t come in, cept
once a crack, her hairdo’s peeping,
but then there’s no handle, and it’s not a door
it’s a round headed bouncer waving his finger
big as a chop; Na. No admission. Not to your sort.


Astra Bloom

Hot down, cool up. Teaching my sister to dance. was the winner of the Bare Fiction Prize for Poetry 2015, chosen by Jo Bell, and appeared in Issue 7 of Bare Fiction Magazine in May 2016.

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