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Slow Dance

Rating: 4.5


More than putting another man on the moon,
more than a New Year’s resolution of yogurt and yoga,
we need the opportunity to dance
with really exquisite strangers. A slow dance
between the couch and dinning room table, at the end
of the party, while the person we love has gone

to bring the car around
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Thomas H Jones 09 January 2013

There are parts I love about this and parts that, well, deserve to be struck out with vehemence. It could be so much better if it wasn't so obviously in love with itself. This starts early with the phrase really exquisite strangers, and one wonders(1) whether strangers alone won't do and (2) whether what follows is really exquisite. Then there's absolutely human, or insomnia pouring across the floor like bath water or the slow dance of ritual is being spit into the sink (ok, but much better without of ritual since that's kinda the point of the poem anyway) or the triteness of There is no one to save us/because there is no need to be saved (at least strike because) or the blather of like an over-sexed chandelier suddenly come to life (how else would an over-sexed chandelier come to life except suddenly if it decided to come to life?) With all the simile thrown at the reader, it is hard to like this poem. Nevertheless, I do. But in its insistence on the really exquisite it fails to live up to its potential.

2 4 Reply
Alexander Smith 14 April 2010

I absolutely love this poem and Matthew's entire collection that it appears in - All-American Poem,2008, Copper Canyon Press. I just picked it up at a book fair in Seattle, and it has quickly become one of my all-time favorites! My personal copy is dog-eared and sticky-tabbed. I like to read them aloud - these pieces are just absolutely beautiful, lyrical spoken word. Bravo, Matthew! My one problem with this online version is that there appear to be several errors in it, which you will note if you compare it to the printed version. Not just one or two errors, but about eight, and there is even an entire phrase inserted that does not belong. Someone should verify this. Alex

4 1 Reply
Marilyn Lott 31 January 2008

I love this, Matthew! You had my imagination going all which ways. It got a ten from me! Marilyn

4 1 Reply

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