But now I pass
graveyards in a car.
The dead lie,
with their feet toward me --
please forgive me for
saying the tombstones would not
fancy their faces turned from the highway.
Oh perish the thought
I was thinking in that moment
the Saturday night dance --
what a life? Would I like it again?
No. Once I returned late summer
from California thin from journeying
and the girls were not the same.
You'll say that's natural
they had been dancing all the time.
In My Youth I Was a Tireless Dancer: Edward Dorn, from Hands Up! (1964)
(The poet's friend Lucia Berlin recalled Ed's account of returning home to Villa Grove from an early trip to Southern California and attempting to make a minor splash at one of those summertime Newman, Illinois Saturday night dances: "He was about sixteen. That was when the pachuco kids out in L.A. were wearing zoot-suit pants. Ed, with his great sense of style, had brought back home the most beautiful pair of pants. He loved to talk about those pants, they were brown-and-white-striped gabardine, they had those big wide pleats, he went on and on describing the weave and the fabric of those pants. They were so fine. Well, he brought them back to Illinois, wore them to the dance -- and nobody had ever seen such a thing!")
Phenakistoscope: A Couple Waltzing: Eadweard Muybridge, c. 1893 (Library of Congress)
Soldier inspecting men wearing Zoot Suits at Woody Herman concert, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Ferrell, 1942 (Library of Congress)