I Pretend to Go to Tango Classes

I’d love to dance a proper tango

with flicks and slicks, quick and slow,

in sensuous syncopation,

perfection clinging to my limbs

like the smell of danger.


I still dream of a partner to explore

the musical vibration in every pore.

Connect with eyes closed,

be guided yet seduce to influence,

push back when needed,

make our music last beyond the final note.


But I fear the slide and bite

of feet so restless across the sprung floor.

I distrust the closeness of the hold, refuse to lean in…

Because I’m tired of looking clumsy

and trying too hard,

being old-dog-new-tricks kind of odd.

Because I no longer know how to walk in heels backwards.

Because nowhere do I feel as alone

as in the arms of all those others,

reassessing, readjusting, taking measure every dance.


So I pretend to go to weekly tango classes

and sit in my car in the woods, scribbling poems.



25 thoughts on “I Pretend to Go to Tango Classes”

    1. Never too late, Cleo, there are people of all ages in my tango class… and some of the older ones put the younger ones to shame!
      That last line may have more than an ounce of truth in it – ahem!

    1. Yes, I used to be such a high heels kinda gal, but haven’t really worn any for the last 8-9 years or so, so it’s a struggle to keep my balance…

    1. Thank you for your enthusiasm! I think I still have a way to go before I make The New Yorker, but that’s the aim, yes, at some point, some day…

      1. Your style reminded met of Ellen Bass (American).
        Her poem ‘ Ode to Repetition ‘ has the same ‘eloquent honesty’.

  1. I love the way this evokes people’s insecurity about trying something new. I think so often we don’t want to look awkward in front of other people. Shame, too, because learning something new can be good for the soul.

    1. Unless of course, you feel that everyone is laughing at you – that’s not so good for the soul. Except they probably aren’t, they’re probably too busy counting and looking at their own feet…

  2. What a perfect balance of fun & sense of the wistful… Lovely!

    And I do like the idea of hiding in the woods to write 🙂

  3. I love this! Mr Litlove and I did tango classes for a while, but in beginners, it’s all stranger’s chest hair and too much aftershave. But I promise you we were all too busy trying to walk forwards or backwards in time to the music to laugh at anybody else – we were all struggling like mad! But distrusting the closeness of the hold.. oh my, yes.

    1. Exactly – it’s hard for others to believe you spend weeks and weeks just learning how to walk! Very challenging! Sadly, most people come straight from work to the tango classes, so aftershave is not the problem. Weak deodorants, on the contrary…

  4. The nicest thing about dancing interpretively and solo.. is no lessons are required and the only need be, is solo interpreting music or NOT, dancing.. i love to interpret the wind and sand the most.. people are always assuming just because i dance UNIQUELY CREATIVELY solo in ballet and martial arts-LIKE style at dance halls.. they can come up to me and i will immediately be able to do all types of ‘fancy couples dance’ in tandem.. and truly if i try.. i might accidentally break their arm.. or foot.. by stepping on that (hopefully not arms) haha.. so i simply say.. i don’t know how to dance.. just like i don’t ‘know’ how to write poetry… STRICT government rules lead to my demise.. before now.. so i stray as much as possible into freedom.. most often solo.. as there are no requirements that way.. but to be me..:)

    But with that said.. yes..

    i still like other people very much…:)

    And i came here looking for clues
    on what to write about food..
    but that’s another prompt..
    i guess you haven’t
    got to yet..
    if you
    do at

    But yeah.. i love dance
    so i chimed in on that too..:)

    Have a nice now.. you
    are always nice.. that’s

    1. Sorry, yes, wasn’t trying to be misleading but I couldn’t think of any food poem to link to the prompt. Yet. I will attempt another one tomorrow.
      I do pretty well on ‘freestyle dancing’ too (making up my own steps), but apparently have problems being led… and also, increasingly, my family are embarrassed to have me dancing in front of them in public (they don’t).

  5. Loved your poem. It’s honest and sincere. I should add that tango and salsa are the two most inclusive dances you could ever find. No one cares what your skills are. Give it a try. Even if that might mean not writing beautiful verses like these anymore. 🙂

    Greetings from London.

  6. tango for me is everrything… danger and thrill and passion and trust… probably one of the most difficult dances in the world – in every way

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