Wild Women in Old Movies
I always wanted to be like the wild women in old movies
who have whole storm systems of electric hair,
who are earthy and hotten things up
and whose great talent is in letting themselves
go, go, go. Oh, let it be me,
Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity
with her killer ratio of hip to waist, her hand
dangerously gemmed with red-fanged cigarettes.
Raw martinis have turned her guts and voice
phosphorescent green and silver. Her rouge burns,
irremediable rose through smoke. If you bounced a rock
off her adorable pompadour
the rock would break. She incites to murder
so casually in her vaginal voice,
lets slip that she wants her old man
wearing clothes of sand. But even more I wanted to be
Dolores del Rio in Bird of Paradise: that scene,
that scene where with star-shaped tears and not one word
she slowly chews the pomegranate,
then puts her lips to the feverish lips of her sailorboy
and tongues the fruit into his mouth: one last look:
then goes away, doomed, gorgeous,
to throw herself into the volcano.
Margaret Benbow: "I'm a poet and fiction writer whose first collection of poetry, Stalking Joy, won the Walt McDonald First Book Award. My debut book of fiction, Boy Into Panther and Other Stories,
won the Many Voices Project prize and was published recently by New Rivers Press."
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