Dancing in Llano Park

The Zumba class in Llano infatuates the whole park. Who can resist the joyful music and movement? The way they sway those hips!
Even this construction worker joins in. He’s  on an eight-foot ladder, readying a structure for a canopy, when he suddenly, rapt by the music, breaks into dancing.  How gracefully he maneuvers the ladder, as if he’s on stilts, as if this is just something one does.
That’s the secret to this city. I know better than to question the magic. I just need to let myself be swept up in the music.
  • Umberto Ak’Abal writes, in “The Dance,”

    All of us dance/ on a cent’s edge


    Upon what edge are you or your characters dancing? And, what happens? And, what do those watching fear will happen?

Jacob, Take It Easy…


I see Jacob, the dog, nearly every day. I have decided that his miniature owner lives to chat with tourists. This is why he uses English in his direction of Jacob. He lures us in with the bait of familiarity.
He tells Jacob repeatedly, “Take it easy!” This large dog does not wear his iconic cask of brandy. Instead, this fancy-dressed owner carries a bottle of mezcal and a shot glass to get the conversation flowing.
While waiting for a parade, I refused three shots of mezcal and was still invited on a run with Jacob at 8 the following morning. I wanted to say that I spend mornings with them in the park, but then I realized that I blend in with all of the other tourists he talks with.
I wanted to say I have heard him warning: “Jacob, that is a poopy.” He means puppy. He yells it when Jacob gets too near other dogs. I want to remind him that Jacob is still a poopy himself (he’s only six months old) and .

From Dogs Are Shakespearean, Children Are Strangers

— Delmore Schwartz

Dogs are Shakespearean, children are strangers.
Let Freud and Wordsworth discuss the child,
Angels and Platonists shall judge the dog,
The running dog, who paused, distending nostrils,
Then barked and wailed; the boy who pinched his sister,
The little girl who sang the song from Twelfth Night,
As if she understood the wind and rain,
The dog who moaned, hearing the violins in concert.
—O I am sad when I see dogs or children!
For they are strangers, they are Shakespearean.

Read the whole poem at: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/42635

Of course, I can’t resist thinking of Anton Chekov’s “The Lady with the Pet Dog:” http://www.eldritchpress.org/ac/jr/197.htm

  • Why should humans and canines meet on the street? One of the ways this interaction can compel a story forward is what we learn from the one-sided “conversation” that often results.


For a Girl I Know about to Be a Woman

When I went on a first date, mom strategically warned: “When you are kissing him, think of what your children will look like.” Needless to say, he didn’t get a kiss–ever. Mom didn’t always offer advice designed to halt me in my tracks, but her techniques were quite effective.

When I went off to college ten hours away, my dad imparted the wisdom of Frederick Schiller: “He who dares nothing need hope for nothing.” He knew I needed to be reminded to be courageous and take risks.

I grew up on a small ranch with seven horses, dozens of cats and chickens, and a couple of dogs.  My parents exposed me to the magic of the world as I witnessed a new foal land in the world and hosted a box of baby chicks in my winter bedroom; I learned how to take care of myself as I cared for and developed loving relationships with other creatures. These childhood experiences filled me with information and wonder for the world.

How fortunate I was to thrive in an environment that emphasized respect for others, knowledge, and thought. How precious it is to be guided to thrive with such balanced guidance!

From For a Girl I Know about to Be a Woman

–Miller Williams

Because you’ll find how hard it can be

to tell which part of your body sings,

you never should dally with any young man

who does any one of the following things:


tries to beat all the yellow lights;

says, “Big deal!” or “So what?”

more than seven times a day;

ignores yellow lines in a parking lot;


carries a radar detector;

asks what you did with another date;

has more than seven bumper stickers;

drinks beer early and whiskey late;


talks on a cellular phone at lunch;

tunes to radio talk shows;

doesn’t fasten his seat belt;

knows more than God knows;


See the rest at: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/47108


from Some Jazz A While: Collected Poems

  • The specific pieces of advice in the are helpful to the intended audience, and they are equally helpful in shedding light on the speaker. Craft advice to add depth to two characters.