“Ali Baba and His Four Thieves”

neolithic dancers on a cave wall in Morocco

neolithic dancers on a cave wall in Morocco

While Ali Baba and his four thieves were drumming last night to wild North African rhythms, I ran to them, giggling, hot and sweaty, fresh from the dance.

Grabbing my dumbek, I wiggled in between two drummers, propped my right foot on a chair and tucked the drum beneath my breast. I tried to catch their rhythms already swirling like looming, stomping ghosts.

They are tolerant, my Berber friends, of the silly belly dancer who would rather drum than dance.  They are like my brothers, but that fades when the dumbeks gets serious.  Then the primal rhythms heat our blood and strong, dusky hands gallop over the skins.

I am transported to a desert of their making, where they are no longer just waiters in a restaurant, but dangerous blue-skinned veiled men on Arabian steeds and fast camels.

I am thrown over a saddle in front of one.

I see Ali’s eyes narrow and Hassim’s close, and my nipples harden.  The Berbers before me are fierce men, and I am a woman.  The drums draw us together in this ancient dance of lust.

I feel sand in my shoes.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008

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