Two Left Feet

Slightly better life choices today, which is encouraging. And one excellent surprise gift that fell into the lap of one of the programs I oversee. It will require a crazy amount of work on the part of the tiniest part of our team, but it will definitely be worth it in the end. A nice way to close the work week.

The source text tonight is, once again, “further note to clark” by Lucille Clifton. I wouldn’t have guessed how fertile that poem would be for me. This is the third — or fourth? — Golden Shovel using that poem as the jump-off point.

Change Partners

I am a painful dancer ... what
to do with my awkwardness? I
move forward, left, right, back ... moves that can
never quite meet yours. We smile, silently promise
to forgive, to keep trying, to indulge, to
do better. But perhaps what I need you to be,
what I need you to do is --
at last -- release me. Let me slip through your hands like water.

National Poetry Month 2021: the Golden Shovel

As I’ve done for the last forever, I’ve chosen a poetic form, and I’m going to try to write a poem in that form every day for the month of April. I don’t always succeed, but I always give it my best shot. The “Golden Shovel” was created by Terrance Hayes in tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks. I learned about it from my friend Sonia (aka Red Emma). I’ll be using Lucille Clifton’s poems as my starting point this month. Here are the rules:

  • Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.
  • Use each word in the line (or lines) as the end word for each line in your poem.
  • Keep the end words in order.
  • Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).
  • The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.

Should be interesting!

6 thoughts on “Two Left Feet

  1. Lainie Levin

    Love this poem, and I love how the poem itself dances in and out for us – but it does so beautifully. This awkward movement, the continual trying to be better, the hope for release. Guess that’s also life in lots of ways.


    1. Lainie Levin

      Now that I think about it, there are threads of this that remind me of Dorothy Parker’s “The Waltz.” – ever read it?


      1. I have read it, Lainie, and I utterly adore your mentioning it because I had the same feel. Parker’s inner diatribe in contrast to her outer actions was a revelation to me. The day I read “The Waltz” was the day I started calling my self the Black Dorothy Parker. Had my birth an her death not overlapped by a few years I would swear I was her in a past life.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Lainie Levin

          That. Is. AMAZING. And yes, this duality – the idea that on the surface we have this kind, ladylike female – who seethes on the inside with what she would REALLY like to say. So many of us have been culturally trained into that mindset. And who knows? Maybe there is a LITTLE bit of her spirit that found you and floated your way at some point early in life. Stranger things have happened…


  2. Like Lainie above I felt a bit of Dorothy Parker’s The Waltz, while in her case I felt defiance. In this case I felt more of a defeat. That the protagonist is the unworthy partner in this tango. In both a sense of “No, just no.”


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