One leads Six listen

The bandoneonista plays with such passion,
I wonder if in ecstasy or pain.
He,
the guitarist,
violinist,
pianist
and we two dancers..
A sextette, on the pub’s tiny floor.
In our collective hypnotic trance, four plus two,
Together we bring to life the dots on paper
Of a composer who wept as he first heard
His tango painted in the air, moving us to dance.
La Música had forced his hand to write.
Now he sees his art brushed with the violin’s bow,
He weeps as the pianist hammers the shape
Of a tango on the Muse’s Harmonic Anvil.
The music heats the steel of emotion’s fire…
Passion, stoked the bandoneón’s bellows,
And brought to life by our sextette, we six.
My tanguera and I sculpt out a visual tango,
A dance led by la Música herself.
One leads, six listen.
We feel the musicians presence and how they drive us,
They watch us as a moving, breathing, dancing work of art.
Like thousands before us, we stand to join
The men and women before us and sculpt
As co-collaborators, listeners, followers of her voice.
We meet in private, secret moments… two in a crowd…
Containing all the passion of every woman and man
Who have held each other since the world began.
These are the roles which we did not choose
Because they chose us, our roles of embrace. ​

She holds me and allows me her space,
To feel her heart’s rhythm.
Our ears hear the same voice,
Every move we sense through
Our fingers, our arms and shoulders,
Her warm chest​ against mine.
Our entire being melts together,
Our divine and earthly auras entwined.
She feels my chest fill with air
In tandem with the breath of the bandone​ón.

We six join to begin a new melodic line,
A new musical phrase with its own story.
Her posture allows me to take a step
On a path I never have been.
I push forward and her body tells me
That she is present, fully there.
Her body says, “Go slow, enjoy this moment.”
The music and her presence
Bring us both forward on a new beat.
Led by the music, we join the African beat
The guitarist strums on our hearts.
My compañera guides a new path,
New ways of being and feeling,
Moving to old sounds I have never heard.

La Música stops us in her familiar way,
After a flurry of notes, la variación,​
She and I stand in silence,
Her leg entwined with mine,
As if not to let me go too fast,
She holds us for a few moment more as one,
Balanced and strong…
A moving sculpture finally still.
A monument to the moment.
I look at her and silently nod.
I have no words.
But I know one thing:
I will never call a tanguera,
“The-one-who-follows” again.
We heard Música’s voice together.
We became one with the orchestra.
We became “the-six-who-listen​.”
We, the two-who-listen-and-dance
Become La Música made flesh,
Upon an earth in need of her message.

NOTE: This poem was written one year before it magically became an experience.  In Washington, D.C. Izabella’s Argentine Rabbi on guitar, a bandoneonist and we alone became a quartette on a small floor in a pub.  The experience haunts me in the most wonderful way.  During a Canaro milonga, the way they watched our feet gave me the impression that we were leading their fingers to dance upon their instruments.  But all along, it was the music, the true leader, who was leading us four.  Join me.  Call no one “a follower” unless it is yourself and the music, your lead.

Story posted by: Mark Word

About the author: Event Organiser from

Published: 14 Jun 2014 @ 07:52

Last modified: 22 Apr 2019 @ 05:46

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