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Milwaukee's First Dance
Charles P. Ries


Ladies with big south side hair
Spin like tops in polyester pairs.
Fans overhead slowly turn the hot summer air.
Conversations lite as baseball, recipes and Tupperware.
Widowed mothers dance with daughters, turning gently round,
The corner bar dance floor with the south side sound.
5 p.m. Saturday mass is long since past
As the congregation says “amen,” and the pitcher is passed.
Accordion maestro with the greased back hair
Sends sweethearts and old hipsters moving - as if floating on air.
Eighty year old charmer in a bowling shirt
Spins his girl friend wearing a poodle skirt.
Who surrender Medicare worries beneath a disco ball.
Milwaukee’s first dance lives again at Sue’s Dance Hall. 

This poem won first place in the Rhyming Category of the 2003 Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest.
Used here with the author's permission.

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Charles P. Ries lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The author of a novel and five books of poetry, with two new collections forthcoming, his work has appeared in over two hundred print and electronic publications. Charles has received four Pushcart Prize nominations and is co-chair of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. He is also a founding member of the Lake Shore Surf Club, the oldest fresh water surfing club on the Great Lakes. Learn more about him at

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Oh, this takes me back!!!
Posted 09/02/2010 07:18 AM

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