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Poetry: "Speak Easy" by Meagan Kimberly


We walk into pitch black edges with only silhouettes

of people and wine glasses and beer bottles on high

top tables. At the forefront of it all: a swirling flame of red

and black surrounded by an orange glow. The flamenco dancer.

Her hurried clogging against a weathered wooden stage echoes

and shouts like a raging thunder against the howling wind

of the impassioned, chanting vocals known as

la música de los gitanos.

The guitar strings are plucked faster and faster like an oncoming downpour

of rain, frenetic clapping and deep rumblings of a drum quickly following

following the flamenco’s swirling frame and frenzied jumping until

it stops.

Or so it seems.

There’s a soft tapping and snapping now, like whispers through the trees

as she appears to float mere inches above the stage, only the tips

of her toes transcending the space and tap tap tapping while the lithe

fingers above go softly snap snap snapping.

Not a single word is spoken. Not a single breath released.

And then the snapping turns to clapping. She descends from her feat,

the tapping becomes a stomping and the eye of the storm has passed

as flurry after flurry of the twirling flamenco skirt brings on another

riotous gust followed by the howl of the gitano as he cries for lust

and lost love. It’s all a cacophonous symphony of tragedy and rage

and obsession, on and on it goes, the fire of music and chanting and

stomping and clapping until the final throe

and her arms swoop in a finishing arc to come to a stop above her head

and at her waist, a punctuation to his last anguished cry.

There is silence. And then there’s whispering in the audience

that turns to waves of awe and swells into bursts of excitement.

A standing ovation.
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