The Rules of Addiction, by Astrid

copyright: Astrid, July 2, 2006. Poetry.  Photography Igor Polk.

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Tango Crowd


The Rules of Addiction

The rules of addiction:
One: you keep doing it
Two: every time you do it you feel happy
Three: it turns your life upside down but you don't care.

Today I wrote of bloody feet
And undone laundry
And family being neglected
To a woman who begged to know
How do you take out your garbage
how do you dust
And how do you wash
When you're a dancer and
A member of tango list?

I don't, I answered
You are right
We just dance.

She asked:
“Is chasing that tango moment
out of desperation
to fill the emptiness in
our heart?

“Yes”, I said.

“Or is it a way to order our lives
So that we can do something that
Inspires us
Makes us each smile
And the laundry be damned?”

“Yes”, I said.

Read what Cherie wrote in Buenos Aires:
“During my stay I didn't shop
or sleep or eat except
naps and
food on the run, and I lived on wine.

At midnight I would wrap my feet
And pad my toes and stuff them
Into spike heeled pointy tango shoes
And hobble to the elevator.
I suffered till
Blessed numbness set in
An hour later.

Then the music began and
I would float on air across
The hard cement
Until the morning.
After two milongas I'd have breakfast
And then go home and peel the shoes
Off my bloody feet
And soak them
And then fall into bed
Smelling of men's cologne
Deliriously happy.”

So, go all you addicts
You dancers and poets
And milongueras
Spend your life
Forever running after
The moment that
Makes you happy
Because most people
Don't even do that.




Heading for the city lights
The world starts at Almond café
Stiletto heels and leather jackets
Around the corner, pass the Starbucks
And then into the crowds
I hardly look the type but still
Can’t get past the doormen unfettered
“Hey, we have a party tonite!”
“Happy hour, drinks are cheap”
“Come in, great music, down these stairs”
Thank you, thank you, no, no, no…
Why are all these doormen African?
I ask myself.
“Hey, Miss, this is 911…”
Thank you, thank you, no…

My friends drag me into some obscure bar
Soon I get handed free champagne
And wonder what the price will be
The man I was just introduced to
Shows my friend a porno on his mobile
And offers me to stay in Jordan
For a while
I dance a bit and don’t believe a word he says
But handsome company is always nice to have

On to the next club
Black music and I sway my hips
Expensive drinks
Then the man from Jordan joins me in my bellydance
We sway together, eyes closed and entwined
And the world around us leaves us for a while
A short break while all I feel
Is tender touch and movement
And a sense of ecstasy
And who cares what he is tripping on
A sign says “Please don’t dance”
But we don’t care

On to the next bar
Where transsexuals try to pick a fight
Envying me my unadulterated body
Cigarettes and beer and hip hop
And treading carefully
And on to the Sheesha bar
Don’t want to smoke a waterpipe
For all that money
The Lebanese goes home now
It’s 4am, I loved his nose
I felt it in my face when we were dancing
One handsome friend is chatting up an ugly girl
‘cause he knows she’ll buy him a drink
and after that

the Power House
final stop for hangers out
fills up at 4 or 5 am
some music is Rumanian
and some for people from Iran
precarious characters
watching other faces in the mirrors
with dull stares
one hand around a glass of Gin
Russian blondes shaking their hips
and Tunesians fondling them

6 am now, there are trains again
What was a nice girl like you
Doing in a place like this
I ask myself and go on home.



3.4. 2006

Walking in the Dark

Walking down the darkened streets
Rain is falling, hands are cold
Pulling up my collar
Water running down my neck
Hands deep in my pockets
Shoulders pulled up, looking down
I walk home alone.

Muffled sounds from open windows
But all doors are closed
One cat is slipping past me
Noone’s eyes meet mine
Puddles showing street lights
Garbage in the gutters
Echo of my footsteps
I walk home alone.

Writings on the wall I cannot read
Food I do not want to eat
Offered in the taverns
Drunken people on the corner
Cigarette machines
Hear cars rushing in the distance
Smell the scent of unknown flowers
I walk home alone.

Lost and yet I know my way
Know not where I’m going
And yet I’m walking home
Or to the house I sleep in
Guest in my own home
Shadows I do not blend with
Sounds that still seem strange
Know not where I’m going
Walking home alone.




I lit my candle at both ends
Wanting it to burn
At twice the speed it should have done
And go and live it up.
But all I did was go and learn
To live faster than I might have done
It would not burn me up.

The other end, the other end
I wanted it to burn
And take me away from here
To a place for which I yearn.

I threw myself into the sea
Wanting to dissolve
Much sooner than I should have done
And go and disappear
But all I did was learn to swim
Sooner than I might have done
Had I not jumped in.

The other end, the other end
I wanted it to burn
And take me away from here
To a place for which I yearn.

And life goes on, in spite of me
And takes me along
Faster now that I can swim
With the stream, against the stream
Burning still and floating still
How long before I’m gone?


Tango Rose


Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms
flower shower
bits of fluff
drunkenness and ecstasy
and petals flying
into my mouth

Looking up
the sky is blue
birds are flying
children running
sunrays dazzling
sparkles in the air

And so I walk
along the river
drowsy still
from hibernation
and depression
and fill my lungs
with new fresh air
ready to come alive again.


Tango in Greece


The Tango Dancers

The song starts
He approaches slowly
Straightening up
Her chest rises
And she steps forward
Feels his hand on her waist
Pulling her towards him
She lifts her left arm
Snaking up into the air
And her hand
Descends on his shoulder
His left hand gently takes hers
And raises it
Into the air
Level of their shoulders
Their bodies touch
And wind until they bond
He steps forward
And her leg extends behind
Her whole body is stretched now
Like a bow
Ready to let fly
One long step
Moves them along the pista
Another follows
They start turning
And when the turns ends
She enters the space between his feet
And near his chest
And winds herself slowly into him
Til they are very close
And their faces are touching
The music runs
Pearls of sweat are forming on his skin
And run from his face
Into her hair
Her eyes are closed
And she feels only him
And his sweat running down her forehead
Feels his body putting hers
Into a spin
And moving her in long, smooth glides
Around the floor
At every turn
They come closer
If they can come closer still
She feels his warmth
And his hand on her back
And his body moving hers
And she follows
Anywhere he wants to go
She knows his feelings
And he knows hers
Sadness, tenderness, exuberance
Tension, gloom or anger
She can feel it all
In the way he moves
Her moves betray her secrets
Her toes are running
Up his leg
Brushing along his thigh
And coming down towards the floor
Below her body’s weight again
Her body twists
Her legs turn
And she is before him again
Ready to catch his next move
His body driving hers
In small steps
Or long strides
Around the floor
The music plays
And she feels the rhythm
Inspiring him to ever new
Forms of dance
Her mind goes blank
Thoughts disappear
And all she feels
Is his warmth
And the power and speed
And the smoothness
Of his body swiftly leading hers
She feels relaxed
At one with him
And the music and the world
Then the song is over
He bows his head
And they drift apart
He was her man
Her lover for three minutes
For the length of this song
That lead them together
And drove them apart.

Til the music starts again
For another three minutes
Of oblivion and abandon
In another dance
With another man.



The Libertine* John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

I bought a poster of the “Libertine” today
For I am him and he is me
The only difference between us is
I never caught the syphilis
Or so I feel

How can a girl identify
With an “idle rogue” she sees on screen
And as the movie goes on bye
She finds herself in love with him
For I am him and he is me
And if you read his poetry
You’d know he was not quite the cynic
His critics make him out to be

“You pretend to love life more than you do”
Jane says to him
“Tell me, am I a cynic?” he replies to her
“I don’t do questions”, says the whore.

To be or not to be
When our senses cease to see
The meaning of it all
Beyond momentary pleasure
Fleeting moments gone too soon
Leaving us in not quite a swoon
As reason kicks in all too soon
Telling us: ”Remember, you are now a cynic…”

*the Libertine is played by Johnny Depp. Who knows, would I have loved him otherwise?


The Gypsy

Glittering pearls of sweat
Like blood running through
The pores of his skin
Burned by the sun and
Years of
Outside, through the deserts and the
Dusty roads of

Glittering pearls of sweat
Running down strands of
Black hair
Dripping from his eye lashes
Disappearing behind his open
Eyes wandering
Down his
Eyes burned by the white heat of his movements

The silk of his black shirt
Stuck to his body
His legs whizzing through the air
Heels drumming up the rhythm of
The universe
Clatter echoing in our ears
And through the void
Of existence

Being lost in thought
And pain
And the passion
Of clinging to life
And the struggle of
Just being here…



More poetry by Astrid: Homesick | To a lover

Published with permission.

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This page is made available to you by a dancer of Argentine Tango in San Francisco Igor Polk.

Copyright©2006 Igor Polk and Astrid
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