QUIZ

I’ve never lost my love
of personality tests.
Multiple choice in twenty questions
to indicate my Compassion (A minus)
or my Loyalty (D plus)
or my ability or lack thereof
to keep a juicy secret (forever an F).
Back to September ’66
Seventeen Magazine –
They had the best quizzes ever.
I’d tear a sheet from my notebook
and mark my A B C or all of the above
and I’d discover if
my boyfriend was faithful
which would be helpful once I had one
or whether I had what it takes
to join the Peace Corps
or wear Tabu.
I’d toss my answers in the neighbor’s trash.
God forbid my sister should see
that I was a romantic kisser
or that I was reading Seventeen
when I was fifteen
and it was her Seventeen,
which she was.
And now to my delight
I can take my tests every day online.
And learn that my nickname should be
Lilypad
and my aura is Blue
and that though Agnostic
my spirit guide is the goat.
And just today I confirmed a past life
with a fine famous lover.
None other than manly
Clark Gable.
Of course that means that I was
Carole Lombard.
Which all makes sense
because I wrote a story once
where the heroine was Carole with an E.
And though I used to think I had been
Edna St. Vincent Millay
(who was also in a story)
I don’t believe she ever slept with
Dear Mr. Gable.
But to be sure, I took the test again
with my second-best answers.
And Gable again.

So there you have it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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.