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Fire Dancer

a poem

By Ari GoldPublished 2 years ago 2 min read

My brother dances at last with explosions and fire—

Not a helicopter, just mushrooms at Burning Man.

I have Minha with me,

accidental lover,

former ballerina with a titanium knee,

a crescent scar on golden skin.

My brother has us,

temporary parents

so he shouts in triumph at the beauty of a bespectacled blonde dancer

incoming from the skyscraper of flames.

My twin let loose at last.

Got burning ash in my fucking eye!

he barks without warning.

So much for bliss.

The carnival is now Hieronymus but I’m not going

to allow

my hypochondriac brother

to chain himself to the wheel in the sky.

My gold and silver velvet robe flaps open,

sharp sand pierces my chest.

I am a king.

He was jealous when I bought my costume on Haight

As if I stole it from him.

A clump of soot, glowing orange,

somersaults jerkily across the desert floor,

a lizard on bad acid.

Minha places her hand on the back of mine.

We should find a medic.

Did I really witness my twin at age six,

friendless in the playground riot,

friendless save for the pale-green puffy jacket

he clutched in his lap?

Or was it our mother who saw him there,

and told us later

before she died

how she’d burst into tears at the sight of one of her little boys

who didn’t know how to play?

Maybe it’s hard to lead another person to joy,

but here in the windy inferno,

I’ll be damned if I don't try.

He’ll be fine, I say.

The crust of sand crackles under my boots.

My left palm grips a ribbon that Minha gave me

a hundred minutes ago.

Her hair whips around her big soppy deer’s eyes.

Ethan moans, on his knees,

convinced by the inferiority of his boring black robe

he is doomed to go blind.

Now inside the medic’s tent,

my brother is tended

I wait with Minha on folding chairs

A different young lady punches herself in the forehead.

Neither the tattooed doctor scurrying around, stethoscope flapping,

nor I, hairy knee trembling with fear for my brother’s eye,

know what to do about the weeping stranger.




I was

a dancer,” the young lady cries

to the canvas ceiling

fluorescents revealing her despair

for all to see.

Party time over.

A tiny ballet shoe on the hard dirt beneath her folding chair.

A bone pressing out of her ankle skin.

Her lost joy is embalmed on her wrists

A hundred multicolored bangles rise and fall with her tears.

Minha crosses the floor, kneels behind the stranger,

hand on the girl's shoulder.

Whispers into her ear.

The cacophony of competing sound systems retreats

the plastic-and-tin folding chair levitates me

eighteen inches above packed dirt

The girl softens.

A single glitter sparkle that once graced a cheek

calls to me from the floor

to tear my eyes from my queen’s caress of this stranger,

because as she whispers to the girl,

sweet milk pours over the other patients

in their soon-to-be-obsolete-again Victorian costumes

straight towards me.

Look away.

She is an accidental lover,

a girl from the midwest I’m not supposed to fall in love with tonight.

So I tear my eyes from her,

to the tent door flapping open,

to the chaos of the night, and a thousand other parties,

to the road like a long tall princess waiting to be fucked,

to a thousand restless flappings of my mother’s wings.


About the Creator

Ari Gold

Filmmaker, writer, drummer. Guinness World Record holder for air-drumming.

Poems published in Tablet Magazine: arigoldfilms.com/poems

Watch my movies on Amazon or at AriGoldFilms.com.

Follow on IG, Twitter: @AriGold

Drum podcast: HotSticks.fm

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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