dVerse Poetics: MTB – Music From a Passing Radio

Today at dVerse Poetics, Meeting the Bar, Bjorn has given us the prompt of “Time Machine” – flashbacks, memories of the past. Come and join us at dVerse. I think you will be pleased with the many poets of such varied talents and styles. And please, add a poem of your own that would meet the prompt!


Cleaning out a corner of the attic.
Pasteboard box sealed with loops and loops of tape.
I know what is in the box but I cut the seal anyway.
I lift out a Japanese lacquered box –
Black with koi swimming across the lid.
I open the box – I breathe deeply –
The scent of him
The scent of Trumpers sandalwood shaving soap.
I open a large plastic bag and take out the black silk
Hakama and jacket – embroidered – black on black dragons.

I put them back into the box and shove it into the corner
And pile up boxes of books on top.
I close the attic door and go downstairs.

I sit on my back steps,
Warm soft rain misting me.
Sleepy as a child I sit.
Quiet movement – the wild bunnies
Have come out to graze on the bed
of clover I guard carefully
from my husband’s voracious lawn mower –
Only for the night nibblers that fear me not.
I lean my head back against the glass
of the patio door. So tired
but needing to be out in the night.
Soft sweet rain taps on the leaves of the trees.
So very tired. My eyelids droop.
Through the woods, from a passing car
on the distant road I hear…..
one on one I want to play that game tonight.

My eyes close and in my dream I see
a summer day, long ago.
“I like this song. Teach me to dance to it.”
You pull me up from my crouch by the koi pool.
“Teach me….one on one”….you sing the words
with the radio. I smile up at you.
“I lead.” I place my hand on your belly.
Feel you warm through your tee shirt.
“Center of balance….here. Relax your knees.
Up on the balls of your feet.”
I put my arm around your waist, my hand
nestled in the small of your back.
I take your hand and then come in closer,
moving against you, pulling you after me.
quick quick slow. quick quick slow.
You are light and graceful. “Are we fighting
or are we dancing?” I laugh into your chest,
Sometimes my love, it is the same thing.”
One on one I want to play that game tonight….
You bend and laugh softly in my ear.
“Rhumba…you are teaching me the rhumba.
You are a sneaky ballroom dancer girl.”
I pull your hips tight against me
and rotate against you.
You sigh….”you are a cruel ballroom dancer girl.”
The song ends and the radio on our steps
blares out some song we care nothing about.
But later, we dance again, to our own music.

I open my eyes.
Silence now except for the whisper of rain
on the leaves of the trees.
The song is past,
gone down a road of darkness.

28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 00:56:42

    What an effective flashback. To be there in the dancing – like fighting. I like how you use the dialogue to bring life to that scene by the koi-pond, and how you use the scent to bring the memory in,… So much more effective when you stay in present tense.


  2. kanzensakura
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 01:05:17

    To this day, I only listen to that when I am alone. And I have spotted a typo! Oopsie….rush and


    Jun 25, 2015 @ 04:10:10

    Oh–My–Goodness. This is a poem to get lost in, Toni–wowza….


  4. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 07:59:23

    One word: hypnotizing. ❤ ❤ ❤
    Present, past and back again, seamless, without a wrinkle in time.Love the dance analogy. 🙂


  5. X
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 08:20:50

    Ha. This has a ‘Dirty Dancing’ feel to it.
    Nice story telling Toni. There is some correlation with fighting
    and dancing for sure. I took several dance classes in college
    as I was wooing my wife.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 25, 2015 @ 15:03:57

      It truly is related and when one of the partners is a kendo master and well versed in katana, it is very like dancing. A year after my husband and I married, I began teaching him dancing. He’s actually pretty good, but I make him wear socks while learning Argentinian Tango so he doesn’t beat my legs to death. 🙂


  6. claudia
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 10:09:49

    dancing is such a sensual thing to do… just took some dancing classes lately – loving it…


  7. Victoria C. Slotto
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 13:27:20

    Toni, wonderful read. I like how you go back and forth, past-to-present, and bring the sensual experience to life again. Just stunning.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 25, 2015 @ 14:56:52

      Thank you. I’m not sure if it fits Bjorn’s prompt precisely, but I began writing this last week based on cleaning the attic and a longtime sealed box. Periodically I write about the Black Dragon and this is one of those times. He returned to Japan years ago.


  8. Mary
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 14:46:42

    Sometimes those memories really surprise us when they come back to us, often a welcome treat – giving us an opportunity to live some wonderful moments. The arrival of yours had a dreamlike feel. I smiled about the parallel between fighting and dancing – never thought about it that way, but it makes sense. I really liked the ending – the song being the past, going down a road of darkness. (Hopefully the memories will return another day.)


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 25, 2015 @ 14:53:49

      The memories return but are often stuffed back in the corner. The rain often reminds me of him. He was a master martial artist and swordsman and taught me how to weild a sword the way I taught him to dance. I don’t know if you have seen fencing, saber, kendo…but very like dancing.


  9. MarinaSofia
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 15:48:11

    A very romantic, very sensual memory and something I can relate to so well. No matter how content we might be, there is a memory that comes at times unbidden and takes us back, so vividly. Beautifully described, I could have bathed in the currents of this poem forever!


  10. Gabriella
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 16:36:52

    I like how the story in the attic paves the way for the memory to come back to you in such a vivid way as well as the martial art imagery you use to convey that dance. I tried kendo but was not very good at it. I like qi qong better.


  11. Grace
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 18:24:47

    What a lovely sweet and intimate memory ~ I admire how you placed right in the middle of an ordinary day ~ Sometimes music can bring my flashbacks like it was just yesterday ~ enjoyed this one Toni ~


  12. Sanaa Rizvi
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 20:23:30

    This was such a sweet & intimate piece 🙂


  13. katiemiafrederick
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 20:57:04

    Ah.. the dance of love goes on in memories of roads gone past…
    for me the dance of love past is best experienced in the balms
    of beach nights.. moonlit and with hotel lights.. as well..
    these words take me long past to dark hair ..bright teeth
    innocent eyes where the eyes are mine.. and the
    hair and teeth are for a love willing to
    be that i have no idea
    how to touch in
    dance or
    not.. too
    shy is me
    for then…:)


  14. lynn__
    Jun 25, 2015 @ 21:31:00

    Flashbacks come unexpectedly, often triggered by scents…like your lacquered box with black koi!


  15. Sumana Roy
    Jun 26, 2015 @ 02:29:24

    beautifully dramatic flashback moments with a superb last stanza…wowzers!!!


  16. Kathy Reed
    Jun 26, 2015 @ 06:41:27

    Oh, I love the rain tapping on the leaves of trees and the bunnies! I could almost hear the music, but I am probably thinking of a different tune. This is a classy write.


    • kanzensakura
      Jun 26, 2015 @ 08:09:25

      Thank you. The song itself is an oldie by Hall and Oates, One on One…. The bunnies come up nightly. Sometimes they come up in the day but there are too many hawks.


  17. Candy
    Jun 26, 2015 @ 23:21:57

    I was transported along with you. Just lovely!


  18. http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com
    Jun 27, 2015 @ 07:50:00

    The essence of memories, to relive them the way you do in this poem. You took me there with you.


  19. Bryan Ens
    Jun 27, 2015 @ 10:24:00

    beautiful memory! And the description of that box is beautiful.


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