"Pole Dancing" by Richard Downing

“Pole Dancing” by Richard Downing

One small Eskimo tribe—

you don’t know them—



of the pole dancing,

of how the bear and the raven

and the seal


would come to watch select members

of the tribe dance naked around

a pole


placed precisely where

the North Pole does not exist.

At first the animals


would come out of curiosity

until they found they wanted to come,

had to come to watch the naked


spectacle. It was at this point

that certain tribesmen began to impose

a cover charge,


to charge for native drinks

that had once been free

and flowing, communal,


to insist the animals not touch

the naked tribesmen

(and certainly not


be touched

by those tribesmen) unless

a price was paid.


Richard Downing is the author of “Four Steps Off the Path”, a YellowJacket Press 2010 chapbook (contest winner). Downing is also the winner of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Peace Poetry Award; Writecorner Press’s 2010 Editor’s Award; and New Delta Review’s Matt Clark Prize. His poems have appeared in Potomac Review and the anthologies Hunger Enough: Living Spiritually in a Consumer Society; The Dire Elegies; and Against Agamemnon: War Poems. Downing is the co-founder of the Florida Peace Action Network, PhD in English.