(Part 2 - The Dancer)
The journeys start to blur together
but she picked me up in France,
in Strasburg or it might have been Nancy,
she took me ‘cross the border - certainly.
She had a French guy with her at the first.
He was young and very self-assured -
I wondered if he’d already scored -
but he left us soon after I had come aboard.
She was a lecturer in dance - UCLA,
Berkley, maybe, somewhere pretty cool,
off for a year’s sabbatical in Rumania
to study local dance folklore.
She wasn’t that much older than I was, I guessed,
bright, attractive, free,
but the difference and her status held me back -
I was still so very green.
She drove, we talked and got on fine;
she asked me what I thought about the war.
I tried the domino defence;
she thought me quite naïve.
I was, but wasn’t fussed 'bout Viet Nam -
Stalinists have never much appealed to me.
I wasn’t into politics back then, or drugs,
sex was my main need.
We stopped that night close to the river -
which one, I simply can’t be sure -
and found a children’s playground
laid out on the shore.
It had a sculpture in a sandpit -
a lovely touch I still believe -
a totem pole with male and female elements
for small hands to explore.
Most Germans were still very much repressed,
but take their culture seriously
and this was modern, thoughtful, fun -
I wanted to applaud.
We slept out in the car - a rented 404 -
the seats wound down to make a bed;
I considered trying to make a move,
but didn’t, but neither then did she.
She dropped me off in Munich
I found my friends, checked out Oktoberfest -
the beer was overpriced, the fair closed down at ten,
I wasn’t that impressed.
I met another American girl;
she did acid, but didn’t score for me.
I didn’t screw her either -
I s’pose I didn’t pass the test.
I didn’t have much luck that trip,
the next year brought me more success.
I wonder how my dancing friend got on
in Ceauşescu’s vampires' nest.
rs 12 - 15.6.07
[From 'Along for the Ride - a few road movies from the golden age of hitchhiking' by Richard Skerman]