Leveler Poetry Journal
About Leveler Submission Guidelines More Poems

Bagel Angle, a Poem of Dancing


“Y’all guys,” the Swedish rapper says,
“This song is a sad love song,
but if you don’t know Swedish, it can be
a happy love song.” Then: “It’s called
Shoot Me in the Head
With a Luger”—thus does he snatch away
the briefly-offered grace
of ignorance.


She proposes

dancing, and he wonders what
dance one does to Swedish rap. Swing?
Soon they were out of
joint, and he tried the other dance,
the nameless one he thinks of as Nihilist Spasm.
What dance she’s doing is not certain,
but the parts that he can feel–
a small hand, a bobbing shoulder—
tell him their two dances occupy
compatibly adjacent space and time.


Driving home, in a patch
of humdrum chat, they say
in perfect unison “Bagel Angle,” a phrase
neither has ever said before, any more
than “Beagle Uncle” or “Brueghel Goiter,”
two cascades
of numberless catalysts and voltages
in their two different brains finding
improbably identical expression.


Do bagels, he wonders, even have
angles? The Platonic bagel,
or better, the space-bagel
in one of Einstein’s thought-experiments,
is a smooth torus, on which
a space-couple, dancing away from one
another at right angles
will trace out independent circles
until their spinning course leads both
back to the fixed point,
the origin.

Roy White