Two Poems

Richard Garcia

The Pants Dance

A brown pair of pants walking across the room. Is this the same pair of pants a spirit held up to my mother when she asked what sex I would be? My pants cower under the bed, cowardly pants. My pants swing on the clothesline. My pants follow me into the Voodoo Lounge. Stupid pants, I thought I told you to wait in the truck. You can dance with your pants. It’s called The Pants Dance. It’s a dance for old men. You are permitted to dance sitting in your chair waving your pants around your head.


Footnotes by Helen Brandenburg

We were best in the afternoon
no love or husbands in sight.1

Or was it the light that entranced,
bending to slither through the linen curtains,2
to lie on the carpet like a reflective pond,

or to sit, sulking in the bathtub like an angry
hateful child, singing softly to itself,3
some ditty about French ladies.4

The rest is marzipan. The rest
is left for a poem that riles
against the wiles of upstanding

statues of the temple. The rest
is cuneiform, emblems of birds in flight,5
an ancient bill of lading addressed to you,6
hidden where it will not be found.

1 By love, we mean only that which occurs on Sundays between the hours of 3 and 5 pm—
2 In the presence of invertebrates, esp. those that float.
3 By hate, we mean pure and simple loathing--universally felt and understood.
4 There was a lady in France who chose the rigors of the dance...[the rest is left to the imagination.]
5 One of the 130 curse tablets extant at the Roman baths at Bath.
6 Don’t even think about it.

Richard Garcia is the author of Rancho Notorious and The Persistence of Objects, from BOA Editions. His poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, and Best American Poetry. He lives on James Island, SC, with his wife, poet Katherine Williams. His website is


Helen Brandenburg, a native Charleston, SC, makes her living teaching English and creative writing. In a previous life, she was a ballet dancer and teacher/director. In her spare time, she and her heteronym run with the Long Table Poets, visit her children, and enjoy the company of Mischief the Cat.