Making love to Michelle Obama must be like going back to Africa and climbing the tallest tree in the deepest darkest great rift valley of cannibal goddesses with amazon bones for necklaces of lust-bearing fruits fragrant as a jungle of ancient wisdom. I can say this only because I’m a dirty-minded old poet and people have come to expect no more from me than this type of gaseous nonsense. Plus I have reached the venerable age where I can say what a babe the First Lady is with no hint of disrespect. Nor am I trying to demean the President when I say that Michelle makes him look like a white boy sometimes, especially when they dance.
I was reminded of this when I saw Barack trying to dance with the children in India. If anybody ever writes Being President for Dummies, the first chapter will have to be called Presidents Don’t Dance and be devoted to emphasizing the rule that if you are president you should never never, never ever dance. Oh, it’s OK to do a restrained and dignified little shuffle at the inaugural balls as you stare into the First Lady’s eyes and Beyonce sings At Last. You can do that postcard kind of dancing but you don’t want to be busting any moves if you are president because there is no way that you can bust a move and look presidential at the same time. It’s just bad politics. George Bush learned this lesson the hard way as did Boris Yeltzyn when he was caught on video stumbling like a drunken cossack while trying to dance. But Obama should pay particular attention to this rule because not only does dancing make him look non-presidential, he dances like a white boy. I actually caught him doing the ‘lip-bite’ which is known to be the whitest move in modern choreography.
Obama has made a conscious and meticulous effort to project an image of racial-neutrality. He wants us to forget he’s black the same way you can forget that Denzel Washington is black. And to a great degree he has pulled it off. But Michelle can’t hide it. She is so proudly and regally BLACK. Not since Jackie Kennedy have we had a First Lady who was so radiant and unconsciously elegant and magnetic. You can’t observe her bearing and gravitas without imagining how Solomon must have felt when the Queen of Sheba entered Jerusalem. With hips as high and rolling as mother Africa herself and when she walks with determination it must be a glorious thing to see. Cleopatra wants to lend Michelle her bracelets to be worn on those arms, those arms of Nubian glory that look like they could crush you with love and surround and embrace a multitude of little children and send millions of women to gymnasiums to tone their triceps. Her right to bare arms has been ratified as the 2nd Amendment of Fashion.
So, you can tell I’m a fan. Michelle is the true representative of soul in the White House. They should leave the dancing to her. She’s got more natural rhythm than any First Lady since Sally Hemmings. Yes, she makes Barack look like a white boy with his hesitant mannerisms of bourgeois Harvard intellectualism on the dance floor looking for the beat in his head instead of his heart. White boys and presidents can’t help but looking reluctant and embarrassed on the dance floor. They try to look like they are having fun but it’s hard to worry about looking cool at the same time as you are pretending to participate in an activity which is by definition characterized by wild, reeling abandon. Do you see what I mean? You can’t be IN control and out-of-control at the same time and yes, I know that’s physics and not choreography but it begins to look like politics. It reminds me of Obama’s reluctant liberalism. His base wants to see him leap and shriek like James Brown and vault up on the microphone stand and land on the stage doing the splits and ‘Git-Down cuz Pappa’s Got a Brand New Bag’ type of moves. Let me put it another way; they want Little Richard singing Tutti-Fruitti and instead they are getting Pat Boone’s version.
I’m not doing the dozens on Obama here because I’ve got a case for his old lady. I know I don’t have a chance with Michelle. To begin with, I can’t dance any better than Barack. We’re both reserved, intellectual types. But I’m feeling the same restlessness as most progressives are feeling. We want to see the president bust a move. We want to see him Electric Slide us into the 21st Century but what we’re getting is more like the Moonwalk where it looks like you’re stepping forward but you’re moving backwards so we are impatient. We can feel the beat, it’s steady as the rent. Our toes are tapping. We know that the dance Obama must do is more intricate than anything dreamed by Balanchine. It’s not a white boy dance where all you have to worry about is keeping your elbows close to your kidneys. It’s not the old soft-shoe. We need a dervish polka, a spinning, arms akimbo, bouncing sufi step with shiva dancing on the ruins of our old ways of thought. In fact we need a whole dance craze, something bigger than the Twist or the Bop or the Mashed Potatoes. Pardon my terpsichorean conceit but some feel it’s time to cut the rug.
Yes, The Poet’s Eye wants to see Barack the Dancin’ Fool and if he insists on dancing like a white boy, at least let it be John Travolta. And I’m not talking about Travolta dancing cool like in Grease or Saturday Night Fever but Travolta as the fat lady in Hairspray dancing without any timid political self-consciousness but with big-butted progressive abandon, with both left feet. You are married to a fine-browed Watusi Queen, make her proud; dance like a savage from the Congo. Don’t leave us dancing in the dark.
Through the agate doorway in suits of flame,
Yea, long-tailed coats with a gold-leaf crust
And hats that were covered with diamond-dust.
And the crowd in the court gave a whoop and a call
And danced the juba from wall to wall.
But the witch-men suddenly stilled the throng
With a stern cold glare, and a stern old song:—
“Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you.”…