Warning: This poem contains partial nudity and the end of the world.
"Dancing the Stars Down"
The end of the world was coming,
and everyone knew it.
While the populace panicked
and the great cities burned,
the Kalidasa sat at her vanity
and made the sacred paints.
She tinted her skin black, her lips
and the palms of her hands
and the soles of her feet bright red.
She put on a necklace of plastic skulls
and a skirt whose long leather leaves
were cut in the shape of arms and hands.
She wore nothing else.
In the yard behind her house, the Kalidasa
piled up all the firewood within reach.
She poured gasoline over the logs
and threw a match to light them.
Then she picked up her swords
and began to dance.
The Kalidasa danced, nearly naked,
around the bonfire that blazed
with light as the world ended.
Streaks of flame flared across the sky,
and the bonfire flung out sparks like stars
that she crushed beneath her slim feet.
Sweat ran down her bare breasts
like rivers salted with blood.
"Jai Kali Maa!" she screamed
at the fraying heavens.
"Jai Kali Maa!"
From the house next door, speakers blared,
"It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine..."
and drunken rock fans hung out the windows,
partying their way into oblivion.
The Kalidasa danced with passion and abandon
as one age ended and another began,
for the Kali Yurga had come.
When at last the planet cracked in half,
the Kalidasa tumbled free, falling
into the arms of her dark goddess.
Kali held out a hand as black as space
and as red as nova-light.
"Dance with me," she said.
* * *
Kali is a goddess of creation and destruction. According to Hindu belief, she dances to destroy the world when it time to remake the universe, pulling it inside herself to be reborn in the next age of creation. The Kali Yurga is variously described as the end of the world or as an age of destruction. Listen to the chant Jai Kali Maa.
"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" is a song by R.E.M. Listen to the original or enjoy a cover with the lyrics printed.
Part of the inspiration for this poem came from a discussion about the end of the world ... this might have been the relatively recent round about the 2012 calendar. We were joking around about that. "It's the end of the world as we know it. Do you have your pr0n?" And of course someone sent me a virtual shrimp. So it was getting pretty wacky. Well, the question came up, what would you do if you knew the whole world was about to be completely destroyed? I said that I'd dance naked around a bonfire. Folks thought that would be interesting to watch. They may or may not have realized that I was referring to something more akin to this than to my usual bellydancing. :D