If I won a million bucks, I don’t think it would feel quite as good as hearing Boz Scaggs’ “Lido Shuffle” come on at a dance, and everyone watching me twirl and twirl and twirl to the keyboard solo, after which I would hear them all clap and roar with applause.

This is a fantasy of mine.

Except there are a couple inherent problems with this scenario that make it not-very-likely.

One, I can’t dance.  I even had to copy the moves of the other five-year-old girls during my first dance recital when “The Good Ship Lollypop” came on the overhead. Two, where in the hell would have “Lido Shuffle” on the playlist and  would be swimming with awesomely cool people keen on cheering me on? I didn’t even go to dances when I was in school, except junior prom.

Still, every time the damn song comes on, that’s what I imagine, and for a few minutes, I understand the appeal of going into show business.

This is why I love Dancing with the Stars. God, I hate reality shows, but this one gets to me. It lights a fire in my belly, thinking that, hell, if Nancy Grace can learn to quick-step in a week, then I could too. And to see these people transform is inspiring, uplifting, moving, and I can taste the freedom they feel on the dance floor, their bodies stretching, bending, twirling.

“They just want to boost their careers,” my husband said, when I told him how emotionally stirring Ricki Lake’s waltz had been one evening.

Yes, well. There’s that. But I don’t think it’s all that. I think the contestants are really finding out more about themselves, pushing their limits, reaching past their self-imposed boundaries.  Knowing that an appearance on DWTS might be my only ticket to my Lido fantasy, I asked my husband whether he would support me if I ever got on. The rest of our conversation went something like this:

Him: But you have to be famous.

Me: Not really. I mean, they had on Kate Gosselin….

Him: She’s technically famous. People know her.

Me: Well, but what if I got famous?

Him: Doing what?

Me: Say they had a special Online Literary Journal Editors edition….

Him: They wouldn’t.

Me: Something else, then. My fate could change today, and—POOF—famous.

Him: You’re asking if I would hypothetically support you if you hypothetically got famous and hypothetically got invited to be on Dancing with the Stars?

Me: Yes.

Him: Fine. Of course.

Me: You’d kind of have to drop everything to take care of our family. I’d be dancing all day. You could handle that? And come cheer me on during the tapings?

Him: Sure, baby. Sure. I’d drop everything.

So, you heard it here, folks. My fantasy is within reach, and I’m totally holding my husband to his word.  Am I married to a winner, or what? He deserves a hypothetical Mirrorball trophy.


I realize it’s going to sound kind of corny for me to say this, but Mickey Laurence Cohen’s “Words To That Song” is…tender. Really, that’s the most honest word I can think of to describe it, and I mean it with the utmost respect.  If sentences could genuflect, this is what it would look like—one bowing after another, until the final sentence stands up and looks straight ahead. I ache for how stunningly gorgeous it is, and the “singing your life” trope is handled with care.

Dennis Must takes the ache to a new level in “The Bequest,” a dance of bodies, lives, family, memory, an entanglement of dance steps, pinstripes, trousers, breath, and limbs. This one must be reread, just to make sure you’re really reading what you’re reading, and you will realize that, yep—you sure did.  Psychic scars go deep, come alive.

I’m also excited to share with you “Police Reopen Natalie Wood Case, 11/17/11,” an impressive poem that paints nostalgic mourning with hushed beauty and jostles it awake again. Thanks to Daniel M. Shapiro, we can imagine swimming the depth of Natalie Wood’s eyes on prom night.


I couldn’t not do a playlist on “Song and Dance” week, as much as I wanted to sleep last night after a massively strong Brandy Alexander. I powered through, and here’s the list I came up with. You can pretty much lick the Crème de Cacao on the links and get a teensy bit buzzed. You’re welcome.


“Dance Me To the End of Love” – Leonard Cohen

“Lido Shuffle” – Boz Scaggs

“Mr. Bojangles” – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

“Bron Yr Aur Stomp” – Led Zeppelin

“Moondance” – Van Morrison

“Dance With Me” – Orleans

“Dancin’ In the Moonlight” – King Harvest

“Couldn’t Get It right” – Climax Blues Band

“I Was Made For Dancing” – Leif Garrett

“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” – Leo Sayer

“Dance All Night” – Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

“Mary Jane’s Last Dance” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

“Shadow Dancing” – Andy Gibb

“I Write the Songs” – Barry Manilow

“Song On the Radio” – Al Stewart

“My Music” – Loggins & Messina

“I Believe In Music” – Mac Davis

“Moonlight Feels Right” – Starbuck

“Sing Your Life” – Morrissey