Monday, March 13, 2006

Cleopatra Entertains Monica Lewinsky

Cleopatra Entertains Monica Lewinsky


The fanning drives her nuts.  The terrible soft swishing,

The palm leaves so full of holes.  Bill is busy with Caesar

Discussing another dumb war, something about Iraq or Iran,

She can never keep them straight.  Various alliances,

Days marches, troops.  Why isn't Hilary here with Cleopatra?

She should be the one making small talk, but she's telling

the men what to do.  And how.  As if they'll listen.

Cleopatra's tan is die for--so dark, darker even

than the one Monica got out of a bottle in 8th grade. 

Cleopatra doesn't look as much like Elizabeth Taylor

as Monica expected.  Smaller breasts.  Not as much make-up.

Mostly just eye-liner.  Not as much jewelry, either.

Monica stutters; tries to remember what she learned in college

about conversation with queens.  She tosses her hair

off her shoulders to let them breathe.  Her best feature, she thinks,

but Cleopatra doesn't notice.  Cleopatra speaks

to the slave girls who disappear and return with trays.

Monica takes the tea, in its earthenware bowl, but nearly spits

When she tastes it.  Bitter.  Utterly rank.  Don't they have any coke?

Or glasses?  She wants to ask for ice, but is afraid.  Cleopatra

Doesn't have any, and she's the queen.  Maybe they've run out.

Her fingers sink into the fruit she lifts warm from the bowl

And cradles in her palm, not wanting to taste it, not wanting to let it

Into her mouth.  The curtains are plain and coarse.  Heavy and still.

And it's so hot.  The slave girl, maybe twelve, fans slowly, slowly. 

She barely moves the air.  Cleopatra drapes an arm, long

and lean, over the chaise, sucks one plum

and then another.  Outside the open window, sand rearranges itself. 

And in the desert, somewhere, that idiot Bush is destroying the world.







Mary Stebbins

For Patrick Lawler  (when Feeding The Fear comes out) (Not as good though, by any means)  [For Monday's reading challenge, 1st attempt]

060312a, 060311b



I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

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