Lords of the Dance

Another one, they just seem to sprout from nowhere. I just wish they were better than they are. They are easy to write but how can I improve? I can convey to myself what I feel and put it on paper and make it rhyme but its not Frost. My stuff is better than Ezra Pound who is famous but I compare myself to people like Frost or Wadsworth where you can see their genius. I now love Shakespeare because I can see his brilliance and genius like no other in history, the man was like Leonardo DaVinci, a man out of his time. I'm not sure I even spelled his name right.

Nature's first green is gold

It's her hardest hue to hold

Her early leaf a flower

But only so an hour

Then leaf subsides to leaf

So Eden sinks to grief

So dawn goes down to day

Nothing gold can stay By Robert Frost

Genius and so simple! I compare my work to that! I guess it's better to write and be lousy than to never have written at all! PUN! DAD


We were creatures enthralled by a special place, “The Hangout” and by our unique music and the age of our adolescence. We were teen agers from Panama City, Florida and from other places like Birmingham, Alabama and Columbus, Georgia. We all shared one thing and that was that we could dance. It wasn’t just any dance but one we all called the Panama City Beach bop.

It was a derivative or off shoot of the ‘Shag” and or” the Jitter Bug”. To all of us it was more than that, it was what defined us as a group or gang in that we could do something everyone else could not.The dance was specific in that it had a basic step but involved a count or beat that became imprinted in your head. When you achieved a proficiency in this dance then your feet were free to do all sorts of turns and steps that defined you as an individual. I spent a great deal of my teenage years watching those senior to me and copying their steps and developing my own steps and style.

Oh! But we did glory in ourselves. Almost all of us or at least those from Panama City were poor or rather not privileged. We were from Lynn Haven and Southport, from St Andrews and the beach. We were not members of the elite or well established who lived in the Cove or other nice neighborhoods. We were the riff raff who went to the beach every night. I for one hitch hiked out there every night of the summer because our family, my mother, didn’t have a family car. We were considered by most to be hooligans and poor white trash.

I will admit that most of us could fight and we all did our share of drinking. I did learn the dance but I also learned how to drink, smoke, and fight. I would say we were just more experienced than our counterparts in town and I think more sexually active as well and is why most of the local parents wouldn’t allow their daughters to date us or even let them go to the beach in the summer.

The girls from Birmingham loved us as no others. We were the beach bums, I.E. “The Beach Bum Reunion” with sun bleached hair and tanned bodies. A lot of us were life guards and we were so full of ourselves, some say “stuck up”, but not really, we were just shunned by the locals but not by the Birmingham girls. A lot of us married those girls and I guess being able to bop was a prerequisite to getting married


When I attend one of these reunions it’s as if I’m high on some drug when I walk into that arena of our music and our dance. To be accepted as one of them, I belong to them! We all know down deep who we are and this is where we belong. We are now, like back then, the elite who can bop and turn the girls and just show off.

It seems now that the locals come out and try to be part of our group but we know they are not one of us. We are all older now and polite and nice to all those that show up. It is a private party and we are sort of a private group but we are purists and will not tolerate any deviation from our music or dance even though we are silently amused at a lot of those that want to emulate us.

There is a hymn that we sing in church every now and then called “The Lord of the Dance” and this will be the name of this poem “Lords of the Dance”


On a beach that glistens pristinely in the moonlight

We see figures darkly silhouetted against the lamplight

We hear music and loafers sliding niftily

We are young again! Blissfully lost in the sixties!

There are some that reminisce of this place

And of a time when their hearts so wildly raced

As we danced together on sandy concrete floors

In a tin cathedral that we all cherished and adored

Young princes, darkly tanned and weather blown

Young ladies, lithesome maidens, inexplicably shown

Danced and courted, practicing a ritualistic duel

Burgeoning adolescents seeking only to look cool

Around a lone juke box we all gathered

Played forty five records until they lathered

“Hello Stranger” and “My Girl” we sang

“The Entertainer” and “A Boy Named Tom” the same

“Stand by me” we mimed, our smiles so meek

Laughingly recalling the time spent staring at our feet

Turning the girls while listening to “Johnny Dollar”

Show boating in madras shirts with button down collars

This place we loved “The Hang Out” was by the sea

An open dance floor with an often absent breeze

It was there that we danced and hoped to aspire

To become The Lords of the Dance, our most ardent desire.