of which Byronic gesture,
of which academic cord
tied waist tight,
fond of which domestic beer;
which wet behind the ears Lottie,
stockings rolled below the knee
needs you? Who? – a poet,
a craven thing, a pea hen,
lap dog, belly dancing linguist
with a knack for placing obscenities
for effect, to signify the degradation
of language in the face of Mozart,
white with trichinosis.
someone's imagined muse,
carries a smart little pistol in her garter.
Discipula , just another student in Latin,
another plaid jumper, caterwauling
after some verse full of jive.
She's saucy, this Lottie, hips jutting,
pencil-thin, peacock feathered,
purses her lips
in every imagining, at every syllable,
as though preparing to play
the oboe. Or some other such
ridiculous thing occurs – Stravinsky
or some bad pork.
Lottie Beckons the Author for a Dollar Dance
Belly up to the bar, straddling the strumpet,
the rhyming dictionary, every day I let
my mother down, shoot off my ammunition.
Do you know nothing of the Trinitarian
Controversy? Neither do I. It's buried
sunflowers in sockets, peat moss in socks.
Do you know nothing about the terror
of stripping? I can only imagine the discomfort
of pasties and tassels, men who don't mind
paying for all that. I'm just writing to say
that I've been praying. For what it's worth
(the price of chicory, a paperback novel).
This song, though! The one on the juke
box – it's quiet, I know. The last time
I heard it, I'd never been touched.
I'm not sure I know much about keeping
rhythm, though you might ask me to dance
with you. It doesn't take much to shake it.
This is my poem – a hump and a nickel,
a prom theme, some Pretenders song.
When it's all over, poet, can we still
stand on top of tables and be loved –
what say you?
Lindsay Bell recently completed her MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. Her work has appeared in Black Clock, Columbia Poetry Review, Wicked Alice, and elsewhere. She currently resides with her husband, David, a seminarian at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and her cat, St. Alphonsus, patron of theologians and vocations, in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.
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