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
July 17, 2014 at 8:14 pm
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!
July 18, 2014 at 10:52 pm
Susan, what a sweet, thoughtful, personal comment. Thank you. Coming your way asap! Amy
July 17, 2014 at 8:28 pm
I am. not. touching any snake. Sowwy, sista.
July 18, 2014 at 10:56 pm
s’all good. don’t hafta touch nuthin ya don’t wanna. won’t make ya. luv ya too much for that!!
Sherry Blue Sky
July 17, 2014 at 9:19 pm
Wow, what an amazing story. Regina sounds like an awesome woman. Sounds like she and Jack had a trusting relationship. Cool poem, kiddo!
July 18, 2014 at 10:58 pm
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
July 18, 2014 at 1:35 am
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.
July 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm
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
July 18, 2014 at 4:32 am
I had this friend (male, black, gay) who used to walk around town with his snake; freaked out people.
Sorry for her passing.
July 18, 2014 at 11:15 pm
My friend Jessie and I used to do the same thing with hers. And thanks, yes, Regina was a truly unique person. Her vibe lives on! Amy
July 18, 2014 at 7:23 am
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 😉
July 18, 2014 at 11:16 pm
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!
July 18, 2014 at 7:37 am
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….
July 18, 2014 at 11:27 pm
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
July 18, 2014 at 11:21 am
a beautiful poem celebrating a wonderful and unusual friendship…
July 18, 2014 at 11:42 pm
Thank you, Sumana. Most people don’t understand that bond, but you do. Amy
July 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm
Your work always profoundly affects me. such a touching tribute x x x
July 18, 2014 at 11:45 pm
Penny, what a thoughtful thing to say, thanks so much! xo amy
July 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm
Fine tribute to your friend, Amelita. No, mi gusta las vibras, pero gracias por eso.
Paz y amor,
July 18, 2014 at 11:47 pm
Pamelita, “vibras” and “vibrators”… hmmm… just wondering… never mind, ha ha. Gracias para tu voz aqui, hermana. Con amor, Amelita
July 19, 2014 at 8:19 am
I think that is what they are called. Now, I must check, lol.
July 19, 2014 at 1:32 am
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.
July 19, 2014 at 4:12 am
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..
Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade)
July 19, 2014 at 10:22 am
What wonderful memories, and how beautifully you have recounted them.
July 19, 2014 at 7:52 pm
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!
J Cosmo Newbery
July 19, 2014 at 8:27 pm
Great construction and sensitivity in this. Really well done.
July 21, 2014 at 1:14 am
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. 🙂