I ran across this poem at Slate several weeks ago and I thought it was just swell. If you'd like to hear the author (who is an awfully swell gal) read it, click here.
Me, when I write poetry it is nothing short of crappy and self-indulgent, and I am disinclined to submit you to it. That is, unless I find the poems I wrote as a final project for my 9th grade writing class.
I was in a pickle because I hadn't done anything for the final project and we were to either write an extensive essay on lord knows what, or submit a collection of 11 poems we had written over the term. I brewed myself I pot of coffee, sat down at the typewriter, and stayed up all night long and wrote a collection that I could turn in. I received an 'A' and laughed like a maniac. These poems are too embarrassing not to share. Alas, I know not where they are. My suspicions are that they now reside in a box somewhere in my mother's garage in California. If I find them, though, y'all will be the first to know.
There will be martinis tonight!
Breasts Like Martinis
by Jill McDonough
The bartender at Caesar's tells jokes we've heard a hundred times.
A shoelace walks into a bar, for example. I whisper
Sarah Evers told me that joke in sixth grade and Josey says
My brother Steve, 1982. A whore, a midget, a Chinaman,
nothing we haven't heard. Then a customer asks
Why are breasts like martinis? and they both start laughing.
They know this one, everybody knows this one, except
us. They don't even bother with the punch line. The bartender just says
Yeah, but I always said there should be a third one, on the back,
for dancing, dancing with the woman-shaped air behind the bar, his hand
on the breast on her back. So we figure three is too many,
one's not enough. Okay; we can do better than that. I like my breasts
like I like my martinis, we say: Small and bruised or big and dry. Perfect.
Overflowing. Reeking of juniper, spilling all over the bar.
When I have a migraine and she reaches for me, I say
Josey, my breasts are like martinis. She nods, solemn:
People should keep their goddamn hands off yours. How
could we tell these jokes to the bartender? We can't. He'll never know.
I say it after scrubbing the kitchen cabinets, and she gets it:
dirty and wet. Walking in the wind, Josey says My breasts
are like martinis and I hail a cab, know she means shaking, ice cold.