It happened incrementally
I needed the dough
I was in a lot of trouble
I went to the library
I needed to come up with 40 bucks
to get my kitty’s, Doris’s, tests back.
I took a couple of Fanny Brice letters
slipped them in my sneakers
sold them to a place called Argosy.
They would pay more for better content.
A big white space at the bottom of a letter
after, ‘yours truly, Fanny Brice’
I got an old typewriter
I wrote a couple of hot sentences
improved the letter and elevated the price.
“I have a hangover out of Gounod’s Faust”
“canny old Kraut remains one of my most cherished friends”
“a bright, talented actress,
quite attractive since she dealt
with her monstrous English overbite.’’
larky and fun and totally cool
Is it absolution she’s seeking, or admiration?
On and off welfare,
a horror beyond my talent to describe
My most enduring memory
is the odour in the elevators:
eau de desperation!
(From Lee Israel, literary forger – obituary. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi)