You see her on the dance floor,
always from afar. Week in, week out,
she walks right past your eyes reaching.
For she shares her eyes with her friends only.
She walks right by the smile breaking across your face
like the sun’s first rays on a windswept beach.
For her smiles are for her friends only.
She doesn’t hear your first words,
a soft volley from the line at the water cooler.
She only listens to words from those she knows.
It looks warm inside that laughing circle of her friends
and feels cold on the outside, as you tie your shoes and go home alone,
your chest sinking low on a cloud of sighs.
You walk with her hand-in-hand down the beach laughing under the sun
until you wake up shivering, the sheets tossed to the floor,
the vanishing wisp of a dream you can’t hold onto,
morning’s cruel hoax.
Loneliness is a cold river rushing through a jagged valley,
ripping and carving dark unforgiving trenches, and
swallowing you whole downstream and over the falls.
Despair is your sworn lover,
tucking you in at night
under the sheets of falling tears.
And it is here in middle of emptiness
where you do the work,
in between a twirl and a spin on the dance floor.
This dance I do for myself, you think.
These ancient steps passed down over time,
this glorious unfolding,
a dream within a dream,
is another chance to look in the mirror behind the balance beam.
Here you realize that loneliness is a teacher.
It’s jagged edge split your heart
and forced you to taste the nectar of acceptance,
forced you to let it all go,
watching it wave its one way ticket in the air, from the airport gangway
Now in this dance you are alive and care-free,
your arms outstretched,
one hand turned up for connection
and one hand turned down for release.
You dance for yourself
letting the music unwind the thoughts
and the worry twirl free from your heart.
One day after many dances between the sun and the moon,
you stand on the side of the dance floor to stretch,
with a soft smile tucked into your cheek
this smile is just for yourself.
She approaches you
looking through your eyes and into your skull.
She pulls you to the dance floor.
You two are lost in rhythm of an ancient song,
a dance from the simpler times,
when it was easy to just dance and twirl under the sun with a lover.
For now her eyes are for you
as the corner of her eye upturns to meet yours, full gaze.
And now her words are for your ears.
Her voice rides through the air on the back of a melody
and lingers light like a dewdrop hanging from a lily petal.
In this simple instant between her look and her touch,
between loneliness and its long lost sister time,
all possibility is born.
She whispers, “You are not that dark cloud that floats in grey skies.
You are the wind’s song riding on the crisp edge of morning
breaking through the night and into the dawn,
electric and loving and free."
She says, “Stop hiding between the lies in your heart,
for you are this dance and we are this moment.
This is who we truly are
and there never was anything else,
Once again I am ready to open myself with a blade.
To lay on the surgical table,
flayed and split and broken wide.
Sanguine river flowing
onto my white shirt spread open across my chest.
You are there looking down at me,
aorta exposed and pumping,
cool air chilling my right ventricle.
“This is me,” I say, naked and exposed, “How will I ever survive this?”
I will pour my heart out on the page
Drop by bloody drop, word by bloody word,
dried and crow-picked on this 8 ½’ x 11’ empty desert.
I will live in the soft touch of your fingers
rushing along the inside of my cheek,
wiping each tear as it drops from my brow.
I will swim in the open pools of your eyes,
and dive down the backside of that one sentence
you whisper in my ear as it rolls off into infinity
The love you show me coagulates the blood and is my bandage.
Your eyes resuscitate me.
Your words are tiny keys unlocking the cuffs that bind my arms,
they allow me to fly free
“Can you see me?” I ask looking up at you,
and you just smile with your eyes
And once again
I am ready
to die here inside your gaze,
so that one day I can live again out there.
CRAIG ROBINSON lives in Venice, CA and teaches high school Drama and English. He is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematography - Film Writing program. He has taken numerous short story writing classes at UCLA and currently is finishing his first novel. In addition to writing, he enjoys improv comedy and takes classes and performs at Westside Comedy Theater.