Solomon Quaynor is a native of Ghana. He is both a poet and a scientist. He received a Master of Arts degree in English from Oklahoma State University with a concentration in Creative Writing in 2003. He loves writing poetry and specialized in it at school. However, his love for writing is not limited to the arts. He returned to school to get a Master of Science degree in Biostatistics in 2007 from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to being a poet, he now works as a medical editor and writer.
Dance With Me—Please
Kwame adjusts the lights to get a good tone.
The ladies, no aprons or low heels here,
Check on the chicken in the oven—
Still not ready. So they wait for the rain
To reduce to a quiet drip.
The DJ plays some soft West African music,
Or maybe it’s East, at least it sets the mood,
As I swing my torso in tune to the drum beat,
My unmoving legs rooted to the wood floor.
The host, I said his name was Kwame, didn’t I,
Now moderates the lights softer than those outside.
This could be the sunset party of the summer.
When the glow gets a little dimmer,
I guess My cue to sashay from kitchen to dance floor,
More people pour in, with dry kinky hair.
Maybe now we can have some fun. More food Shows up.
Where’re the people I want to know.
The music changes—a Cameroonian number—
This time I’m sure. But my glide’s not like before.
Your roommate, with that uncertain look, you know,
Which one wears when unsure if privileged information
Is passing on, tells me that even though
It’s the sunset party, of the summer no less,
You can’t make it. Something about a paper.
I decide to try the chips and salsa, someone forgot
To get the hot kind. I should have gone shopping.
The music might spice things up a bit.
An Ethiopian Disco selection comes close.
Need more salsa—
If only they played the merenge…not here.
It’s time to move to the dance floor. The host insists,
Drags me center-stage, like I’m Hamlet or something,
Reminds me of what happens to one who resists
The beat—you lose your rhythm he tells me.
Never seen a drum with no rhythm? Have you?
Don’t know how I make it through that song.
Does my partner feel I was distant?
The first few times it creaks, I pay attention
To the door. Then I don’t bother. Until now.
There’s the stranger, my baldheaded friend exclaims.
I almost don’t look. You see me and smile
Even with your eyes
I thought you weren’t coming.
Your roommate chides,
You just turn to me and smile, Do I hug you (like I’d like to)
Or shake your hand?
You wait for my response
The New Dance
The guests haven’t arrived so we talk, you and me—about nothing.
Yet it doesn’t seem that way.
Your focus, isn’t on The legs firmly rooted to the ground or the torso,
That swerves a little to the left.
No, your concern Lies just with me. Kofi interrupts, and I return
To my guava juice, the drink you said reminded
You of home. But before I have time to remember
The taste of biting into this fruit’s red flesh or how
Mama would refuse to let us have too many when we were Kids, now I know it’s
because of the seeds, before I can
Think of any of that, you return to me—
I guess Kofi wasn’t Engaging enough.
We return to talk of nothing and not once
Does your attention stray to my feet.
I cannot remember whether anyone tried to interrupt me.
The DJ’s not here yet, so I look through the numbers he might play
On his computer. I feel safe here—at least I don’t have To dance—yet.
I bet I could teach you to dance—upper-torso style
You leave the room for a while and I come to find you In the kitchen. Though only a
few minutes pass by, You never ask why I look after you—all you do is
Giggle and return. More friends spill in.
We’ve been here five hours. Or four? I forget.
No dancing for me yet. Your friend
drags your Complaining body to the floor. I stay with the DJ.
On the way home I realize my keys are still at the party. You tease but still let me in.
You didn’t forget yours. I’m glad I left with you.
From where I stand, the stairs seem imposing— Like our first embrace. Do I lean
forward and ask Or leave things unsaid?
Your firm grip raises me up the stairs.
There’re no weight-lifting grunts from
you. The what-do-I-do-now look doesn’t surface. Just the able right hand. I think of
our first embrace And know that this is better. The cab driver doesn’t Know that he’s
witnessed a new dance.
He can’t tell who led or followed and neither can I.
It doesn’t matter now but at the
last step I say Thank You. Maybe he knows now.
You pass through the door
And I follow after you