Oblivion“, a tango poem.

Mostly not; betimes we do. At times we fly above the norm,
and wake our souls from slumber with the music that we hear:
This is a way to find some peace in a calm above the storms.
To open heart and soul and mind, and give no thought to fear –
These dancing, ghostly, twisty shades of Plato’s Higher Forms!
To walk this stage with one another; and to dance without pretense;
strength for her, and comfort for him – here is found the very key
To show why it is food for us, though it needs not our defense.
Medicine, too, betimes; and thus to our souls this strong appeal:
This thing called tango: a chance to feel the truths that we all see
It takes us to the very heights, and to the deep depths we all feel.
I remember all those unsaid words, and her flashing eyes obsidian;
And I remember it’s but a special kind of act; but also – oh so real –
Embrace and strut and walk and heal, in that sweet dance oblivion.

copyright c. loukus 2015


Festival People

At an earlier stage in my tango journey I was once despairing of getting any traction on the tango learning curve; this while chatting with a friend at a local festival —  we were both watching some out of towners dominating the floor.

“Oh” she said “…those are festival people.”  Her inflection, I think, meant she thought something like “these people are tango zombies – you are never going to catch them.”

And she was right about that.   We are all incrementally growing up; some rocketing ahead and some, like myself, more slowly; and hopefully with a little sureness.    Some of us, like me, take detours into other arts or other things; or take breaks and rests.

Now and then I still strain for a higher foothold on the mountain trail of tango learning.

….. On a good day I can process an advanced class; and in a good month incorporate one good thing so that it is intuitive.  Tomorrow I follow my muse and hit the road for my third festival in eight months; and have one coming locally this month as well.       I’m not a tango zombie; I’m not.   But now and then the Muse strikes, with the right follow, and I think I can comfortably call myself a festival person.



I contemplate the way to go; to steep my soul in bushido?

Leave the pattern of the dance; and give another part a chance?

To grow in this; I must do and need,  leave behind the tangeuro-

For some time, no backward glance, not knowing if I can advance.

To have the both would be ideal, feed both lover and warrior.

And be by this the better man, the one who does, because he can.

No one can make this choice for me;  of my own soul be the quarrier.

One wonders: From the pan into fire, or from fire to the pan?

Perhaps I’ll find a middle way; that gives both room for  fight and play.

And thus to find myself again;  a plan for life that works for good;

Be not consumed; yet be serious –  the best for me, but not halfway.

And find herein the fruit of this:   I will walk  and stand the way I should.

Vals sin palabras


A cabaceo, at first. (which is how these things start),

And a nicely done vals.   She settled in; the abrazo close.

Then the tanda had ended; so thus we started to part.

She touched though my arm; it seemed she had chose

To favor me yet.   Once more for us; both music and art.


No touching that connection;  the finest you’d find. 

The thoughts in her heart spoke by the look in her eyes.

I ventured to ask her name, for I thought she’d not mind….


But I quickly perceived there I had made a faux pas;                                                                       

That by asking for her name I was not quite so wise.                        

The reasoning is complex; but basically it’s because 


that  by speaking those words, I had broken that trance.                                            

Though I did get her name, …so now I’m  still sure I’ll find              

That vals sin palabras, and a new chance to dance!

Sarabande of Lost Time


A cabaceo: Just an invitation to the gift.
And that is all, a trance for two. No more.
The tanda ends; and the partners shift.
Time both lost and gained upon the floor.
Our hearts are grounded; we are not adrift.
Dance we do; with all and different kinds!
Oh, how I long again for the time of June;
The summer breeze, and the harbor winds.
At the Broadway Pier; our place of fun!
This open place; with streetlight and moon….
Oh, to dance once more with my favored one!
And thus I pour my heart out in this rhyme;
Your pardon, please, as this verse is done:
This sweet sarabande, dear, of our lost time.

A cabaceo first, then followed a dance;
She said: I thank you. The cortina short.
How dreamy! Thought I. …I made my plans
to ask again. Months flew. And I sort
of liked her, too! (not always so). A tanda
is so brief. And not a chat – no way to find
her soul for real; if only this was a way you could!
The dancer knows, does not need the remind;
that we play with strut and twirl and walk;
boys and girls making merry, and as we should.
But there are times how we walk is a way to share.
In the world of dance, all is not as it seems.
Find fault if you must, but I hope to find her there;
beneath the streetlight, with music and dreams.

*one of our local milongas is called “the Streelight Milonga” because it is out of doors, under the street lights.

Dos por quattro

In a final session with S. before she and her partner move to the left coast, she offers this mental tool: Think of moving your partners legs as if they were your own.

My thanks and best wishes to them both; between S. and Paula in Buenos Aires I would not have stuck it out and developed such skills as I may have.