Bisecting Paths

by Madeleine Beckman

I was at the Mudd Club
you were too                   probably
or with another young artist
high (most of us were)
on something potent          but
not as potent as youth.
I was probably dancing
(what I did back then). Music was my drug, movement
my master –
every muscle, tendon taut, tantalized
in that den lacking light
humid with sweat                  flesh against flesh
alcoves thick with smoke
and schemes
lovers              and yes
fantasies                  following us
into the morning light on White Street.
We were wired back then
                  beyond imagination.
I was at Castelli, 420
around the corner from my front door.
A woman in her 20s can move
seamlessly through dimensions
time was undefined
laughter came easily.
You were there too                  probably
with other young artists.
We were unstoppable
our powers                  growing
with each new challenge
                    each new possibility.
Did you ever look across a gallery
loft, café                  in my direction?
Did I ever look back?
Imagine the rooms we’d need to scan
subway cars, clubs, museums
imagine the rooftop parties – music blasting
into the air over bodegas and gas stations
imagine the heat or cold against my back
against the door of your truck in winter
the brick wall outside Florent in summer.
No one would have noticed our bodies
                  lit from within at night.
I’d like one moment
to glance you across the room
soak in the desire
fire coursing through me
the clock not a thought because
I had all the hours
all the energy
all the courage
                 lived on a dare.
I’d like a moment to feel
our eyes            our bodies
speak           the pull of want
before all the faded dreams, missteps
excruciating pain
crashed the party (as it does).
Still, I’d repeat it all              persist
as I did                  find you
as I did.