GLAMOUR

I believed at seven
that given the chance
I could be Shirley Temple.
I could dance and sing
and cry at will
and I most certainly could
pull off curls
if my mother would only
show some effort.

By nine
I’d outgrown the ruffles
but Hayley Mills and I
had much in common.
I could squint and bite my lip
and spout that classy English.
On top of that
her hair was hideous.

In sixty-five I pierced my ears
Inspired and heartened
though briefly
by Mia Farrow
delicate and equally
flat-chested.

In just one year
as classmates cried
for poor Zhivago
I wept in defeat
abandoned my Hollywood dream
before sixteen
Julie Christie smiled
incandescent
and I knew my limits.

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STARSTRUCK

It was that British actor –
the intensity of the eyes
deranged some might say
offset with kindness in the curve of the mouth
that combination of benevolence
and psychosis
that appeals as a rule
to cautious women.

I saw him on the page of a magazine
the previous bored business traveler
had abandoned on the train
leaping laughing
hair like Jesus
and I’ve always had a thing for hippie hair
in my fantasy life.

He had played a villain
in recent release
with passionless quiet menace
designed in its restraint to terrify.

But that day near Bridgeport
he offered spontaneous and genuine delight
or perhaps he acted it.
I cannot tell deceit in car salesmen
or cheating lovers
let alone
oft-nominated Shakespearean liars.

No matter.
I rationalized the book
i
nto my sober briefcase
(For my next commute)
from there to desk drawer.
(too heavy to carry)

I referenced him frequently
a
s I calculated the present value
of future contracts
scores of scores critical on that day
or for a week at most
then filed and forgotten
as opposed to the issue
which fell open unaided
to page fifty-four.

KENNEDY WHEN I WAS TWELVE

The old Sylvania
Had three channels
Though one was ghosted
It didn’t matter those few cold days
They were the same
Stricken citizens
Anguished newsmen
Speaking softly over repeated images
I stood more than sat
Before the grainy pictures
My hands to my mouth
When the accused was murdered
In my own living room
I decided it didn’t happen
Threw out the papers
Burned the scrapbook

On Main Street that summer
I stopped before the record store
Where in the window
The President’s photo
Framed in black
Gathered dust
This is too long I thought
For my dream

And so he died for me
In June
And not November

MY OLD CAT PERSISTS

Bad news

Says the vet.

He has perhaps two weeks.

My accounting brain calculates

A life that’s ninety-nine

Point eight percent

Done.

He sleeps inside the arc I make.

Twenty years now, we spoon.

I wish with some shame

That he finishes like this.

I touch him; he breathes.

Now two weeks pass, now three.

He exceeds his point two percent.

Here he comes in precarious shuffle.

I’ve opened the fridge.