June 05, 2008

The Reason Why...

By May B. Yesno © 2008

The place had a less than classy name, The Roamin Gardens, to say little of the fact the only garden about it were two fake, potted palm trees at the front door. A typical sleazy pick-up joint. One in which you feel like everything you touch you can pick-up most anything. And it was crowded; crowded with most every sex imaginable.

I was there chasing a rumor, not the hunk name or the twitter fluff name, floating the streets this week; but the two person guest show I'd heard about Up-Town. I'd heard they perform once a night wherever they book into, and take no encore. Never heard of performers short stopping themselves like that before, never. So I tracked them down and there I was, bucking the make-up, the made-up and the delusional to find a secure corner near the pitifully pretentious stage; fighting the smell of spilled drinks, seldom-washed bodies sweating in the press, sex and drugs, when the lights dimmed, way down with no announcement other than the insistent, slow beat of a faintly heard drum.

I wasn't aware of the length of time I had been hearing that drum beat, being very faint. However, it was long enough that it began to demand my attention, the beat never changing, never flagging. Persistent. And it continued as the noise and hubbub of the club dwindled, and faded, until finally, after an undetermined length, the mass of humanity stilled. And the drum dominated, never a word spoken as the beat doubled, swelled louder. That single drum beat was joined by another, deeper, though less than base drum. The newer drum was compelling as it picked up the beat and the first drum began to play with the beat, weaving the occasional pattern around it.

A third drum joined the others. That third was a softly speaking thing, joyful and just a bit playful among the deeper voices. It slithered and wove its way through the beat; now faint, now boldly. It, too, faded, though never leaving the senses.

It was sometime in there that a dim figure appeared on the stage. Petite, it was. Clothed, it was revealed as the stage lights brightened, in silk from head to toe, bare foot, progressing to the center of the stage; each step in time with the drum, no movement, like a stick, except for the short stepping feet. Almost an exaggerated mincing, however graceful; however seemingly artless.

As the figure reached stage center and turned toward the watchers an arrhythmic clacking of ivory castanets demanded the attention of the drums, which double stepped and picked up the beat laid by the figure. That figure began to move. First just the feet, and the bells attached to the ankle bracelets joined the drums and the castanets, then the hands raising toward the waist, then higher and the arms began to moving, boneless for all intent, weaving in counter point to the beat maintained by the feet, the drums and the castanets.

The entire performance was quiet and understated for the instruments involved. Harmony: in the body that began to undulate, causing the silks to flow and swirl about the shapely body. The arms slowly spread aside, then moving slowly down the imaginary back to cup the non-visible buttocks and back up the spine hiding the willingly receptive hips, swaying to the beat, softly, slowly. And the bells strewn about the shoulders of the figure joined the rhythm as the hands and arms twined their way to stretch luxuriously above the heads in perfect contentment until it would seem the joints would pop, still in time and beat with the drums.

Drums which quickened their beat, heightening the tensions, bringing down the arms so gracefully to hide the chest of the figure, slowing the hips, dampening the bells of the ankles as the drums rose and rose to crescendo and the figure, hips flung foreword, fingers clawed in front of the belly, froze.

Two drums halted; the third went staccato. The bells whimpered from ankle, from shoulders; the castanets faltered.

The drum, that faint head drum changed its beat, to be joined by the missing partners in the aftermath play and faded into and out of quiet stretching the senses, the castanets and bells joining, then dying to silence. The figure slowly straightening to arms at the sides, not moving the body, turning, the only moving things are the feet as the figure recedes off stage and the lights slowly brighten and the drums fade to silence.

I am left in shock, standing there in the unreal world of a stained pick-up joint. I'm numb. And more yet, the humanity around me is still silent as I head to the door. I need to escape, to leave. I need to be alone.

I need.

I paused as I achieved the street. All of that. All of it.

And they hadn't missed a beat.

May B. Yesno is from Fresno, CA.

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