8 October 2015

Bachata, a poem by Geoffrey Philp

(for Nadia)

After every party in our house
when the reggae, reggaeton, R&B
have exhausted the younger couples,
and they sit separately to cool down,
I want to dance with you,
the way our friends, Miguel and Ramona,
who have made a promise,
that despite their struggle
with lawyers, bill collectors, and cancer,
they will never leave each other,
and whenever the bachata begins–
we stop to watch how
he will catch her–
she spins out of his arm’s reach
they pass like strangers,
but then his hand
finds the small of her back,
her legs quiver to the old music,
and they are partners in time
with the rhythm, once more.
© Geoffrey Philp

Ed's note:
Bachata, a form of music and dance that originated in the countryside and rural marginal neighborhoods of Dominican Republic. Its subjects are often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness. In fact, the original term used to name the genre was "amargue" ("bitterness," or "bitter music"), until the rather ambiguous (and mood-neutral) term bachata became popular.

Bachata was created and primarily used by servants, who used to play it when they got off of work. They made the music out of ordinary objects like those commonly found in a backyard (Trashcans, Fences,etc). In some rural areas of the Dominican Republic, bachata means trash, but most citizens agree that it means a party. Others say that bachata is derived from the Italian Ballata, which was a popular form of music in Italy centuries ago [source]
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