Thursday, January 17, 2013

Prompt: Drum Circle

My pulse races as I enter the room, seeking the staccato time in the wild rhythm of the drums. I push through the sound like water, feeling it carry me into the center, my body and arms waving loosely, stretching, flowing. I close my eyes, trust the other dancers, and lose myself in the music.

Dance, jump, bend, spin, twist—my body moves with no specific plan or direction. The music, the beat, the drums drive us. Sometimes I brush another dancer with my hands, open my eyes, smile greeting. We spin on.

Sometimes a drummer takes the lead, draws the rhythm to a rest-not an end. The dancers continue to move, wave, spin, greet each other, clap for the drummers. Musicians and dancers reach for water, greedy gulps cool against the lips, tongue, throat, belly. Spills on the chin, cheek, neck. A tall gangly boy pours a cup over his head and shakes his hair like an enthusiastic puppy. The splatter is welcome where it touches cold on my sweat-slicked skin.

A drummer calls the lead, starts a new rhythm, slow, then faster and faster as others pick it up, take it in, make it their own, become part of the music. The dancers embrace the new rhythm, flow, bend, wave, speed up. I close my eyes, swept away. The drum circle continues.

I blink and see a fire, hear the ululations of old women, the chanting cries of old men. My arms and legs are wrapped in soft furs, a blanket swings around me. I smell the smoke and hear the pop and sizzle of embers flowing up into the night sky. The dancers spin around the fire, blasting heat pushes back the frozen air. The drummers carry the dancers into the rhythm, and we continue on.

I blink again and see the bare black skin of the women around me, the bright woven colors of our skirts, the silver bangles on our arms, around our throats. My throat closes against the dust and animal musk. The men carry their drums, keeping time in the wild dance. Children run in and out as we parade through the sun-baked village. I close my eyes and release a long wavering cry to the sky. The drums carry us on.

My eyes close, and I feel the brush of snow on my cheeks. I look up into the night sky, feel the thick furs covering my body, the shuffling rhythms drawing us closer around the fire as the snow piles outside our circle. The cold steals my energy, seeps lethargy into my arms, my legs, and I slow, slow, waving gently to the deepest rhythm I can hear in the drums. Hardly moving, I carry the beat inside, in the pulse of my heart, my breath, my blood.

The drums slow, going silent one by one, till only one deep bodhrán continues the eternal pulse, with sand shakers and cymbal strokes quieting around it. Three-two-one. Silence. I don’t want to open my eyes, see the musicians and dancers standing still, gulping water, picking up bags, trading hugs and bows and compliments. Don’t want to leave the circle. The rhythm still buzzes in my head, beats through my body. It carries me along.

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Maize, Malachi

Keep Me, Jordan Lee

January word count:

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