Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I DARE YOU - April Poem #8

Today's prompt from Robert Lee Brewer's "Poetic Asides" is to "write a dare poem. This poem could be written as a dare to someone. It could make a daring proclamation. It could involve a dare that someone has accepted . . . or refused. In a way, each day of this challenge is a dare to write a poem."

I feel fortunate to still be in touch with so many of my classmates from our junior high and high school days in the small Idaho town where I grew up. Of course, back in those days, sometimes just walking out the door to go to school seemed like an act of great daring . . . and some days required more daring than others, like the the noon dances on Fridays in junior high (as if junior high itself wasn't torture enough) . . . .


On Fridays at lunch we got 20 minutes to eat,
then, whether we wanted to or not, everyone
assembled in the gym, a couple hundred
nervous, sweaty, giggling, silent, blushing, or pale
seventh- and eighth-graders, boys on the east side,
girls on the west, in our stocking feet.

When the music started the boys, the brave ones,
the jocks, the popular ones, the confident ones, the ones
with girlfriends waiting on the other side,
crossed that wasteland, that no-man's-land
to ask some girl to dance. The rule for girls
was, if you turned anyone down, you couldn't
dance to that song with anyone else.

But there was Crazy Ed. He twitched, sometimes
he drooled, but it took guts to cross that space
and smile. When he got turned down
he moved to the next girl, left or right,
you never knew which way he'd go, down the line.
We held our breath till someone took pity
(though never for a slow dance) or the song finished.

Then he'd walk back, turn, and do it all over again.
I dare you, the girls whispered to one another
when we saw him coming.
I dare you. I dare you to be brave.
I dare you to be kind.

            - Victoria Stefani (draft)

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