Dance With Me


Dance With Me

Possessed of a prominent nose
Sloe eyes and sensuous smile
Regina, dancing muse
Real-deal belly dancing, repleat

with silver – snaking around
slender arms, on her ankles
shandangling about her svelte,
supple, flexible waist and hips

Her ultimate adornment was
her boa, whose name time has
swallowed, but whose image is
indelible; the trust, the sure

partnership, he lovingly
encircled her neck and arms,
living jewelry and friend

Slow their duet, slithering
in a Roma-tinged tango,
she so proud of her partner
The two cast a potent spell

Regina often allowed me to
help deliver him back to the
safety of his Indian woven
basket, his genie bottle

He graced my arms with
a cuddle. Warm skin, still
damp with her sweat from
his beloved perch, Regina.

Years later, still dancing,
Regina contracted that
slow-eating cancer, yet retained
her smile, her love of life

Now Regina has crossed over
to the side where pain is no more
Snakes in the hereafter are lining up
for the chance of just one dance

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Regina Star was just that – a queen and a celestial being. She worked with us at the fabled Great American Food & Beverage Company. I have combined several instances in her life to create this portrait. Having love snakes all my life, I was humbled by Regina’s trust that I carry Jack’s basket around at the GAFB 30th anniversary. Cancer had ravaged her body, and yet she danced with the same grace and self-assurance, Jack extending his head past her hand to view the audience. A whirling force of nature, our Regina. May she be at peace.

Oh, and one word to the “eeeew, snakes are slimy” crowd: The next time you are near a boa constrictor (preferably one recently fed!), if you aren’t game to have it be on your body, at least caress it. The smooth skin, the warmth, the decidedly non-slimy nature of snakes… trust me, you’ll dig it!

Written for the Poets United prompt for poems in praise of snakes. Peace, Amy

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27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan
    Jul 17, 2014 @ 20:14:10

    LOVE! First the poem, warm and sensual and loving and second the woman that you drew–that she is real and not a fantasy. Third that you knew her and the boa and carried him, which made you part of her life’s dance. Magnificent!

    Reply

  2. coalblack
    Jul 17, 2014 @ 20:28:05

    I am. not. touching any snake. Sowwy, sista.

    Reply

  3. Sherry Blue Sky
    Jul 17, 2014 @ 21:19:12

    Wow, what an amazing story. Regina sounds like an awesome woman. Sounds like she and Jack had a trusting relationship. Cool poem, kiddo!

    Reply

    • sharplittlepencil
      Jul 18, 2014 @ 22:58:17

      Regina… oh, lord, I could tell some stories. She used to dance to the violin of a guy named Gypsy Ted (I’m sure he calls himself Roma Ted by now… but TED?). Also, we would get the tambourines out but not bring them to close to the snake, as there might have been sensory overload. Thanks, Sherry, so much, A

      Reply

  4. http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 01:35:14

    Sensuous writing of an interesting – but you have to say unusual – lady. The word that’s usually paired with “boa” is “constrictor”, so I would be very very wary.

    Reply

    • sharplittlepencil
      Jul 18, 2014 @ 23:03:25

      Yes, Viv, I agree. You’ll notice I mentioned “recently fed” in the process notes, ha ha. Don’t want a hungry boa constrictor around my neck… or a python for any reason.

      I grew up with Dad reading to us from the Jungle Books, so my fascination with snakes makes sense – as well as my dread of the pythons, Nag and Nagina. Amy

      Reply

  5. Roger Green
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 04:32:56

    I had this friend (male, black, gay) who used to walk around town with his snake; freaked out people.
    Sorry for her passing.

    Reply

  6. Jae Rose
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 07:23:10

    What a wonderful tribute Amy..and the tenderness really did shake off the preconceptions..as a rat mommy I can empathise…they become Jack.. or Toby! and shandangling is a great word ;)

    Reply

    • sharplittlepencil
      Jul 18, 2014 @ 23:16:52

      Ha, Jae, you know me and fooling around with made-up words! Also, yes, I understand about “alternative” pets. We had a bunch of gerbils, mice, and such like when we were kids. The cats used to lick their chops, but somehow, we never lost one in “combat”!! Love, Amy and cheese to Tobesters!

      Reply

  7. brian miller
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 07:37:55

    i am sorry for the loss of your friend…cancer sucks…what an interesting life, dancing with that giant snake…ha…i have held a few that big…a big part of holding snakes is overcoming that fear and trusting….

    Reply

    • sharplittlepencil
      Jul 18, 2014 @ 23:27:39

      Yes, cancer sucks. And the more we find out that big money fat cats were letting us get cancer by peddling dreck to the public, the more it feeds my outrage… and my outlet, poetry… and my activism. White House: 800-456-1111. Have it memorized.

      Regina and Jack at the reunion, incredible. And yes, it’s all about trust, like any human to human relationship, right? Although I still don’t trust olives. They freak me out!!! A

      Reply

  8. Sumana Roy
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 11:21:44

    a beautiful poem celebrating a wonderful and unusual friendship…

    Reply

  9. pennymck
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 13:58:28

    Your work always profoundly affects me. such a touching tribute x x x

    Reply

  10. Pamela
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 20:28:12

    Fine tribute to your friend, Amelita. No, mi gusta las vibras, pero gracias por eso.

    Paz y amor,
    Pamelita

    Reply

  11. Rallentanda
    Jul 19, 2014 @ 01:32:27

    We have beautiful diamond pythons in Oz that are not deadly and rarely bite,Ours was called Monty . He lived in the the roof for years. The black and brown snakes are the killers where we live.

    Reply

  12. claudia
    Jul 19, 2014 @ 04:12:27

    i have never touched a snake to be honest…i didn’t expected them to be warm but after reading this i would like to – and i would love to see her dance – maybe one day..

    Reply

  13. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade)
    Jul 19, 2014 @ 10:22:56

    What wonderful memories, and how beautifully you have recounted them.

    Reply

  14. kaykuala
    Jul 19, 2014 @ 19:52:03

    Sometimes there are people who feature in our memories. In most instances there has to be an emotional attachment as in this case. But love of snakes is not everyone ‘s cup of tea though!. Wonderful tribute Amelita!

    Hank

    Reply

  15. J Cosmo Newbery
    Jul 19, 2014 @ 20:27:59

    Great construction and sensitivity in this. Really well done.

    Reply

  16. mybeautfulthings
    Jul 21, 2014 @ 01:14:54

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman. I am not a fan of snakes but will try to take your advice at the end. :)

    Reply

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