Boogie Fever: A Sestina

No illusions in its neon sign—a Tom Jones platform boot—
no frosted glass to fancy up the place. Just bald desire
ogling from the bar or backlit disco floor.
Life’s too short for shame at Boogie Fever,
where spike-haired guys with biceps bulging
from their shiny shirts cruise like Mylar sharks in rainbow lights,

where receptionists eye college boys in baseball caps, light
menthol cigarettes, swap yarns of giving faithless men the boot.
It’s any night in 30 years of singles bars—limp pick-up lines, the bulge
of mid-life run amok. Manmade fabrics scintillate desire
like heat lightning from the swell of breasts and pecs; call it fever,
that rank and primal longing lunging awkward on the floor,

the bass line thumping all the way to coat check. Up a floor,
we watch them dancing in their squares of light--
the bachelorettes with naughty hats, the claims adjusters, fevered
and forlorn, inching toward two girls in go-go boots
who slightly shift aside, deflecting all that sad desiring
borne of infinitesimal failures. The crowd heaves and bulges

like a lung to songs of AC/DC, Donna Summer, bulging-
ruffled 80s Prince. Then a circle widens on the floor
around a mall-cop who can breakdance, his back-spins like desire
for spiral arms in a sky bereft of starry light;
he’s followed by a guy in bolo tie and cowboy boots
who jerks and struts a vision of what boogie fever’d

look like as a real affliction--lurching, pop-eyed, feverish,
limbs aflail and rump out of control. Oh bulge
of lycra’d sassiness! Oh synthesizer’d beat! But he gets booted
by some chick in shocking pink who works it while the floor
bulbs flicker crazily below and spotlights
shine on strangers drunk and sloppy with desire.

Tonight I’ve learned a thing about desire--
your palm against the hollow of my back imprints its fever
as the crowd is belting out “The Gambler,” and disco lights
cavort like fireflies while my dumb heart bulges
in its bony cage. We’re swaying like first lovers on the floor;
next week you’re heading back to Butte

but this minute what I most desire is here, amidst the bulging
mass of lonely souls on Boogie Fever’s multicolored floor.
What unexpected happiness, these lights beneath your boots.

Christina Kallery has been previously published in Failbetter, Rattle, The Hiram Poetry Review, The MacGuffin, Poetry Motel and other publications. She holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and recently moved to New York from the Detroit area.

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761