Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Dancing Machine’ and other poems

By Karen Lee Stradford

Dancing Machine

We arrived at 11:00
to enter the club.
The line is forming
along the brick wall.
Everyone dressed in sparkles.

Baron is wearing a plain white shirt
with blue jeans,
carrying a duffel bag,
out of place.

The doors open.
We push towards the front
anxious to show off.

He slipped away
without saying a word,
returned wearing a gold sequined jumpsuit.
His six foot frame was on full display,
like a mannequin
in a department store.

Baron danced
all night.



If I die today,
just know that I loved you,
the chance to wake up
every day
excited to smile.

You inspired me
to keep smiling,
be confident
push harder,
reach to the heavens.
Speak up.
Ask questions.
Never accept no
as a final answer.
Great things are possible
because of you.


Hippy Spirit

I remember my uncle’s stories
hitchhiking to his happy place,
cigarette burning,
living free, kind,
and natural.

Peace sign greetings,
wearing dashiki,
frayed denim bell bottoms,
thin rubber sandals.

I feel his spirit-
make friends wherever I go.
Share a meal or two.
Give 50 cents
out of my last dollar.

I light up.
Listen to my favorite bands
dance bra-free,
tie-dye shirt
so others can see
my joy.

In my happy place,
is naturally


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