For the Goddesses in the Industry
On Thursday night
I celebrate my 8th year anniversary
Wearing my slave-of-a-salesgirl badge
Pinned above my right 34C breast.
My friend’s colleague
Paul calls my job glamorous.
I stand on my feet
Eight and a half hours
For eight dollars an hour.
I dash around the corner
To the Sanctuary Cigar Shop for a puff
Off a clipped La Gloria Cubana.
Oh, Goddess, do I dare open the metal vault
Stuffed with boxes of Felina, On Gossamer, Elita,
And Wacoal bras and panties separated
By color and size?
How could I forget the men’s g-strings
Cut in the pattern of penguins, bulls,
And gray wooly elephants?
Who else is going to reveal
What really goes on behind
The blush rose fabric of the dressing room?
OK, so Albert Goldbarth writes
A poem about golden bras,
And Billy Collins writes another poem about
The women in the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.
But who’s going to write a real poem about the industry?
Hear the word from an expert bra fitter,
And vibrator consultant:
Ladies, remember to store a few extra AA batteries
In the refrigerator.
—Marnie L. Parker
the day lost
tents, blankets, chairs
signs of a baser sort of living
are strewn along the margins
—ditches, canals, fences—
of the railroad tracks
graffiti is grafted in full
color along the canal’s edges
where the tunnel dwellers
—shoved to the fringes—
make a life for themselves
untended, unknown, forgotten—lost
in the warrens of a “lower” culture
while the god-fearing, responsible,
go about their business
as if any of it mattered
as if it made any difference at all
calling upon a “higher” power
and on the beach a man
with his dog breathes
the ocean, the cloudy expanse
of grey sky dampens the dark afternoon
and the cold train, like waves,
rolls on and on…past
luxurious homes and palm trees
and the spun treadmarks on the road
of crazy tires circling, circling
circling past fallen driftwood
shelters built on sand
past the man in the wheelchair pouring a drink behind
his camper, regretting
the day of his loss.