Nijinsky for the Ages
Nijinsky for the Ages
The dancer wore the cross
in order to gain an audience.
Whether he loves himself as Narcissus or God
he needs to be watched by ordinary people.
It is God
because Narcissus is all by himself.
The audience shows up to be amused
and thinks he dances for its amusement.
It takes as its own the emotion of his movements.
When his dances are frightening,
it thinks he wants to kill it.
The dancer is the spiritlife of the audience.
Outside the dance,
he claims to live like it lives
that it may find him sympathetic.
Aristocrats beg the dancer to dance again
But for now he must feign retirement.
Their inducements offer comfort,
whether or not their money
will finally contaminate him.
They become like temptation
when God calls out to the dancer, “Enough.”
“We all need money to carry out our plans,”
the dancer says time and again.
“We earn money to help us solve our problems.”
The dancer is God’s problem, not Antichrist’s.
“God,” says the dancer, “requires no money.”
God sits in the audience too.
Who knows it is there with them?
When it leaves the dancer will die soon.
The dancer expresses himself
from within his own sense of silence.
Like the dance,
writing is silent.
Listening is silence.
To listen to God
and to obey him: at last,
this is a good regular mode of living.
Because dancer is not afraid to live
it needs no money either.
Yet this insistence on it as inconsequential
operates like a deeply felt obsession.
With money, he reflects,
one can write a book,
feather a nest,
glide through the air
 I don’t think many young people these days know the name Nijinsky but everyone is impressed by photos of him, the air he gets leaping, searched up on the internet. My only qualm with my own lines about the good dancer is that other older writers and writers now gone have their own pieces about him already. Marvin Solomon has one. Frank Bidart has one. I’ve found six more by men alone who are part of this Nijinsky club I imagine. My insecurities arise from the distinct possibility that they have a greater insight into our shared subject matter. I keep this worry from the young people I know and share what I can in passing with what confidence I can muster.