Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
Michael Rumaker Engages a Crowd with “The Fairies are Dancing All Over the World”
I met Michael Rumaker twice in my life. The first time was about five or six years ago, when he visited Asheville to read from his memoir, Black Mountain Days, at UNC Asheville. At the time I had no idea what a powerful poet Rumaker was, although I thought his work was electric, and he had a charming presence. Like Jonathan Williams, he was able to make his memories of Black Mountain College come alive for me. Black Mountain – that great educational experiment – how can we ever forget it?
The second time I met Rumaker, he read, “The Fairies are Dancing All Over the World” to a crowded gallery full of people at the opening reception for the 75th Anniversary of Black Mountain College. I experienced his poem deep in my body, tingling all over with excitement with hairs standing on end. I said to myself, this poet really knows the fairies. That is how I knew Rumaker was exceptional.
In fact, Mr. Rumaker might just be a fairy.
The next day I saw Michael at another reading. Afterwards, I commented on his poem, and how it made me feel that connection we all crave – I call it plugging into the web of life. For the most part, I never ask this question, but the spirit moved me to do so that afternoon. I asked Michael Rumaker if he had any knowledge of the contemporary faery movement. He got very excited and said that he knew the radical fairies in New York City in the 70s. That would put him at the beginning of a wave of popularity for fairies.
Just by chance he had his novel for sale at the event that referenced this period in his life: My First Satyrnalia, so I purchased it. Michael Rumaker has given FairiesInAmerica.com permission to re-publish this wonderful poem. At the bottom of the page, there are related works in both fiction and poetry that may be of interest to fairykind.
For a beautiful hand-made edition of “The Fairies Are Dancing All Over the World” created by Rutherford Witthus, via his Phi Press, Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fairies Are Dancing All Over the World
by Michael Rumaker
The fairies are dancing all over the world In the dreams of the President they are dancing although he dares not mentions this at cabinet meetings In the baby blood of the brandnew they are dancing O most rapturously and over the graves of the fathers and mothers who are dead and around the heads of the mothers and fathers who are not dead in celebration of the sons and daughters they've given the earth The fairies are dancing in the paws and muzzles of dogs larking in the broad field next to the church The fairies have always danced in the blood of the untamed in the muscular horned goat and the shining snake in the blood of Henry Thoreau and most certainly Emily Dickinson And they skip in the blood of the marine recruit in his barracks at night his bones aching with fatigue and loneliness and pure dreams of women and his goodbuddy in the next bunk They are most lovely in the eyes of the black kid trucking in front of the jukebox at the local pizzeria more timorous in the eyes of his white friend whose hips are a bit more calcified with hereditary denunciation of the fairies May the fairies swivel his hips On sap green evenings in early summer the fairies danced under the moon in country places danced among native american teepees and hung in the rough hair of buffalos racing across the prairies and are dancing still most hidden and everywhere in some, only in the eyes in others a reach of the arm a sudden yelp of joy reveals their presence The fairies are dancing from coast to coast all over deadmiddle America they're bumping and grinding on the Kremlin walls the tap of their feet is eroding all the walls all over the world as they dance In the way of the western world the fairies' dance has become small a bleating, crabbed jerkiness but there for all that, a bit of healthy green in the dead wood that spreads an invisible green fire around and around the globe encircling it in its dance of intimacy with the secret of all living things The fairies are dancing even in the Pope's nose and in the heart of the most stubborn macho who will not and will not and the fairies will most insistently because he will not In the Pentagon the fairies are dancing under the scrambled egg hats of those who see no reason why youths should live to old age The fairies bide their time and wait They dance in invisible circlets of joy around and around and over the planet they are the green rings unseen by spaceships their breath is the earth of the first spring evening They explode in the black buds of deadwood winter Welcome them with open arms They are allies courting in the bloodstream welcome them and dance with them
Copyright Michael Rumaker 1975, 1977, 1983, 1986, 1988, 2005, 2008
Some books by Michael Rumaker and some contact information for their purchase:
Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center/Black Mountain Press,
A memoir, Black Mountain Days; Dossier No. 6
Eroticizing the Nation:Michael Rumaker’s Fiction, by Leverett T. Smith, Jr.
My First Satyrnalia
Pizza: Selected Poems
Circumstantial Publishing, RC8232@aol.com:
Contact the following for titles below: rafountain.com
Gringos and Other Stories: A New Edition;
a novel, To Kill a Cardinal;