Dance of Delirium

Christie Olstad


The Dominican Republic, an island in the Caribbean connected to Haiti, is dominated by crime, corruption, and poverty. The island, situated in the midst of magnificence - crystal clear blue waters, a warm soothing climate - is ruled by chaos. Their government and criminal justice system aid in the corruption; there is no protection, no legal system. Having been under the control of the brutal dictator, Trujillo, for over forty years, crime and corruption have infected their existence. The windows and doors of their houses are barred, while private guards sit outside the large iron gates surrounding their homes. Children run barefoot in the streets, begging for food. Others sleep in cardboard boxes, heating their food by the fire they started in a tin can. The beauty of the island is masked by the crime, corruption, and poverty.

However, within a civilization which seems to be encaged in depravity, a sense of freedom survives. Developed in the 1840s in the Dominican Republic, as well as in Haiti, the "Merengue" became their freedom. Its elements are clearly marked by an African and Spanish descent, yet the "Merengue" of the Dominican Republic carries a strong personality of its own. Its rustic simplicity and lively beat unite the people of the culture, while its lyrics cover all aspects of their lives - personal as well as political. With its crisp, flamboyant two/four swing, it is heard under the thatch or concrete of rural bars and dance halls, in the homes of all ages, and beneath their stars. It is the dance of delirium.

2/4 Time:

Endless
red, orange and
yellow stained horizon
settled on the water.

She danced
to the sway of
palm trees
as the waves crashed
over
and over sand
to the rhythm of the music
in her spirit.

Her feet
kick the sand and
hips sway
twirling around
around
and around--her
body imprisoned in
the last
eternal leap.

Chorus:

She dances to
freedom--mind deserting
body,
blinded to the pain . . . . Lost
in the music
Her body torn and bruised.

She danced
through the streets of the Poor
Children barefoot,
begging;
she danced through them
to the freedom from thought.

People
asleep on the
street in
dirty cardboard
boxes,
heating their food
by the
flame from a can.

Chorus:

Silent
fear running through
her veins
Tears run down her
face--washed
away by the
waves that
rush to the shore.

Caught by
the death, a crime
always
she remembered
Death and
danced to its beat.

Her friend
murdered on the pavement
outside her door,
now, lost
in the Silence,
silence of the Power
that rules.

A government
for the
people who live in Fear.

Chorus:

Her doors
and windows barred
She keeps
it all inside;
her dance
of fear guards the
soul from the pain of the
silence
The Violence
strains and
cracks the rhythm.

Chorus:

Music of the past runs
through her
veins, pulsating
her sense,
the memory
of their extinction--the
brutal
and inhumane
treatment.

She danced
Outside the huge,
rich, stone
buildings that they
made with
black hands.

She danced
Outside the shade
of the
cathedral--the
biting
lies of the past,
lost in the Prejudice
of the
present . . . . future.

Bridge:

Her endless dance
is composed and
re-composed by
the socio-
political
strife of her
culture:

The past
has become the
present.

The dance
has become the
delirium.

Chorus:

Always
Twirling around
around
and around--her
feet kick
the sand, hips sway.

She is
Imprisoned in
the hope
the music brings
pushing
her to fly from
it--the loneliness--the
lies of
reality.

Her dance--
the blanket of
magic
that surrounds her
sense of
depravity--
the core
of existence.

She danced
with the old and
young, the
past, the future
in their
houses and in
their streets--
Under their stars,
she danced
imprisoned in
the last eternal leap--
of the
delirium.

Endless
red, orange and
yellow
stained horizon
settled on the water.

She danced
to the sway of
palm trees
as the waves crashed
over
and over sand
to the rhythm of the music
in her spirit.

Her feet
kick the sand and
hips sway
twirling around
around
and around--her
body imprisoned in
the last eternal leap.

Chorus:

She dances to
freedom,
mind deserting
body,
blinded to the
pain . . . . Lost
in the music.
Her body torn and bruised.



Copyright 1995 Kaleidoscope. Write Place. Volume 6.
Contributors retain all rights to their work.
URL: http://leo.stcloud.msus.edu/kaleidoscope/volume6/page23.html