Theresa Edwards's Reviews > Ballroom - a love story

Ballroom - a love story by Christine  Klocek-Lim
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Mar 16, 12


We have learned how to dance or we remember our parents floating above their own dance floor in Christine Klocek-Lim’s chapbook Ballroom—a love story. For the speaker and her man in each neatly-narrated poem, dance helps them “look at each other,” and helps all lovers, even ones who learn to dance midway in life, know that with dance “eyes touch.” And as dance skills improve, beckon for repetition and risk through the progression of Klocek-Lim’s skillfully touching images that take us to vertigo, ocean, and back to the dance floor, her speaker plunges into the act of life and love through dance.

The rumba seen in “Rumba—spot turns,” is so very sexy yet shares a rawness of “muscle through hard depths to bone,” as the speaker shares the intricacy of love’s moves, wondering just how deep body and emotion can go. The notion of the tango and its couple’s mirror-like movements transcend in “Tango – torneo cinco” because not only do we become aware of “[t]he difficulty of toes and muscle aligning,” but we also accept the labor of the difficulty, much like the labor of true love when the speaker admits that “[i]t’s easier to walk alone / but not as beautiful….”

My favorite ballroom dance, the cha cha, takes on the wonderfully surreal (as do many of the poems in this collection) in “Cha Cha—paseo,” as the dancers/lovers become relentless, practicing “until the river is littered with petals” / and the trees have given up on [them]” as they master the art of spinning. In fact, this penultimate poem anticipates the final and title poem that explains and concludes in metaphor the lasting love story that we’ve experienced all along in each poem: “he lifts me, twists me into knots. / I am a ribbon, caught on his bough. / The last red leaf.”
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