Monday, October 12, 2020

Seduction: Mae West Style

Be honest: you want to belly up to the bar

straddling the stool, heels tucked onto the lower rung.


Be honest: the more expensive the scotch, the fewer rocks you order.

But here, at this honkeytonk in Southwestern Kentucky,

they have only bottom shelf Dewars. The bartender, always in black,

always strapped into a push up bra, thuds your cloudy poison

on the bar with a nod and a wink. The ice jiggles,

like her, and she reminds you she will be back

to check on you. Your toes curl around the bar stool rung. You lean in.


Upstairs, I have a bottle of 21 year old Ardmore.

One cube, two at most. This is loamy liquid, peaty,

oozing of earth raw and wrenched open with naked fingers. Nervous

worms grapple around my palms as I pour you a glass. I am waiting for you.


I left clues for you to find. Miniature mysteries, really.

While you were rattling the cubes in your Dewars, I secreted

up behind you, draped my red feather boa over your shoulders,

slid it across the width of your back, pulling it slowly around your neck.

One red feather lodged in your beard.  Another lingered

at the corner of your mouth, remnants of the scotch soaking into it.


I left a trail of red feathers across the barroom floor,

slopped with the grease from spilled fried pickles.

They decoupage the floor with mosaics of a fragmented boa.


I wait at the top of the stairs. I lean and loiter along the bannister

where I sprawl and stretch. I pull off white buttoned gloves. 

I crook my finger at you, signal you to rise and climb,

to ascend this circular staircase suspended

between alcoholic brawls and lace doilies.


Come on up and see me some time, I whisper,

hoping my words will echo down the spiral staircase,

crawl into your glass, take root

in the bottom of your scotch.

After having taught middle and high school English for 32 years, Marianne is now nurturing her own creative spirit.  She has spent three summers in Guizhou Province, teaching best practices to teachers in China. She received Fulbright-Hays Awards to Nepal (2003) and Turkey (2009). Marianne participated in Marge Piercy’s Juried Intensive Poetry Workshop (2016).  Marianne’s poetry appears in Muddy River Poetry Review, Belle Reve Literary Journal, Jelly Bucket Journal, Gyroscope Review, among others.  She has a collection of poetry forthcoming in 2021 from Shadelandhouse Modern Press.