Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Cher" by Dorianne Laux


I wanted to be Cher, tall
as a glass of iced tea,
her bony shoulders draped
with a curtain of dark hair
that plunged straight down,
the cut tips brushing
her non-existent butt.
I wanted to wear a lantern
for a hat, a cabbage, a pinata
and walk in six-inch heels that buttoned
up the back. I wanted her
rouged cheekbones and her
throaty panache, her voice
of gravel and clover, the hokum
of her clothes: black fishnet
and pink pom-poms, frilled
halter tops, fringed bells
and that thin strip of waist
with the bullet hole navel.
Cher standing with her skinny arm
slung around Sonny's thick neck,
posing in front of the Eiffel Tower,
The Leaning Tower of Pisa,
The Great Wall of China,
The Crumbling Pyramids, smiling
for the camera with her crooked
teeth, hit-and-miss beauty, the sun
bouncing off the bump on her nose.
Give me back the old Cher
the gangly, imperfect girl
before the shaving knife
took her, before they put
pillows in her tits, injected
the lumpy gel into her lips.
Take me back to the woman
I wanted to be, stalwart
and silly, smart as her lion
tamer's whip, my body a torch
stretched along the length
of the polished piano, legs
bent at the knee, hair cascading
down over Sonny's blunt fingers
as he pummeled the keys,
singing in a sloppy alto
the oldest, saddest songs.

~ Dorianne Laux
found in Superman: The Chapbook
as well as in
Third Rail: An Anthology of Poetry of Rock 'n Roll


Collin said...

Brilliant poem from a brilliant poet.

Dustin said...

I heard Dorianne read it a couple of years ago at the PBPF. I was in awe.

Anonymous said...

God, I love this poem! I have that chapbook, which has only six poems, but each of them are so rich and amazing. Thanks for sharing the poem.

Dustin said...

You're much welcome, Larry.

KATE EVANS said...

Wow, she's good. I can see how she has influenced Ellen Bass.