Monday, March 2, 2009

The Disenchantress

A teenage enchantress stroked
her chestnut hair one hundred
times every night, gazing
into her full length mirror,
mirror on the wall, pronouncing
herself fairest of them all,
imagining herself in the arms
of the football team captain
in a far off future land
of make believe: white picket
fence surrounding the well
manicured yard of a two-story,
upper crust, suburban home.

Amid the congregation of social
hangers-on, she pointed out misfortune
dripping from the sweat of a feebled,
balding man, a two week stench
perfumed the tattered, dirty clothing
draping from his emaciated body. They
all laughed and snickered, as they gawked
mockingly in his direction, reducing his
crumpled form into a cultural stereotype -
a sub-human.

Years later, the former enchantress
still holds court - now, her snaggle-tooth
mouth verbally accosts strangers,
wheedlingly pleading for spare change
along the Venice Beach boardwalk,
laughing with her disheveled retinue,
each one spitting epithets at ignoring,
affluent passersby, while clear, cheap
vodka drools from crooked mouths.

Somewhere in her backpack,
the disenchantress clings
to the hair brush which once endowed
her chestnut tresses with a sparkling
sheen. It reclines, unused, almost
forgotten, along with the faded memory
of her smug, finger-pointing superiority,
hidden by her collection of methadone,
syringes, a packet of rolling tobacco
and papers, a couple of hamburgers she
liberated from a garbage can, her extra
panties, soiled and scented with brown
and red stains, and her secret stash
of vodka for later that night, when
she would awaken, shaking, coughing,
and spitting up blood from her failing
liver, dreaming about the fairy tale
ending to life her mother once promised.

This poem has been selected by Sabellapress for inclusion in an anthology which they will publish and release in the summer of 2009 under the title, "Unhoused Voices: Granting Change for the Homeless."

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Very powerful images, Don.