Tartara, The Prince of Dance: Poetry by Joy Gaines-Friedler

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Tartara, The Prince of Dance

Harsh. Fierce. What was it about perfection?
Why the constant movement Nureyev? Why the wings?
Why the sad longing? Yes, the boys wept for you.
Yes, the girls too. And God, if such divinity exists,
threw you to the air to sail the paled world, daring it
to come more fully alive. What was it like to live
in your body that thundered like a heart wanting release?
What was it about passion that you saved, gave
to the stage, the music, the dark light?
Is it that you were free from the lying there?
“Grievous illness” was how your death was told.
We know. Those of us who know the truth, know—
you were happiest in the heat of Capri.

—Joy Gaines-Friedler


Longtime reader and contributor to A&U Magazine, award-winning poet Joy Gaines-Friedler is the author of three books of poetry: Like Vapor, Dutiful Heart, and Control Theory. A multiple Pushcart prize nominee, Joy teaches creative writing for a variety of non-profits in the Detroit area including literary arts programs, social justice programs, and the PCAP–Prison Creative Arts Project through the University of Michigan.