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An illusion leading to an enlightening disillusion, commemorated by crude 64-color digital panorama, 1990/2/12, by Chris Wayan.
For my first dance teacher, Tony Morris-Kramer, of Roble Hall, Stanford

We cripplehearts love dance,
So I join a class beyond my depth.
Wrap my wounds in leotard;
Technique's my tourniquet.

I weave a nest of warm tight rules
Against the rain of being me.
I move as my teacher moves
Only not so nicely.

Our confidante the mirror wall
Shows Alison's sassy strut,
Sara One's pettable mousy curve,
Lauren's cool silk glide,
Sara Two's tense-jawed ironies,
And my--where is my?

I can't find the guy--
I'm nobody. No body!
Unreflecting... vampire!
And who's that tall red Figure?

Scour the class, in the glass:
I seek... the geek.
Slow to penetrate my head
That the geek am dead--

Robot child
Sickly teen
Battered twenty
Skeletal thirty

You float around me--like fear's reek.
But faded ghosts, over-exposed,
Masqued by the red dancer
Swimming silver, in the mirror.

Memorize the face, kid.
For you go home with
Unknown him.

Seven dancers before the mirror, radiating strange energies; and me, as a green-faced awkward monster.


This wasn't poetic license. I really did transform so much that one day in dance class in 1990 that I failed to recognize myself in the mirror. Who was that tall stranger who'd joined our class? A shock when I realized it was me.

This was my first attempt to paint the auras of energy I feel around dancers or performers--or lovers. I have trouble actually seeing their bodies sometimes, the energy is so vivid.

Today it looks wild and crude to me, but I was limited to 64 colors then, and half those were darkened versions of the main 32 (a trick the old Commodore Amiga did to expand its palette and squeeze all it could from a 7-megahertz brain.)

I did what I could with a stick and a rock. And for me, the moment means a lot.

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