The Lady is a Tramp

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)

On the surface

Greed probably undid her in the end.
She was said to have taken a bait of uncooked tiger nuts,
which swelled inside her until she floated upwards.
Telltale empty paper bags were found on the bank of the river.
Or she may have been pregnant,

with 300,000 eggs causing complications, or stressed
after so much catching and releasing,
those constant brushes with extinction.

On the line between life and death, at Kingfisher Lake,
she breathed the fatal air and did not sink again.
And there she lay,
like Wisdom drawn up from the deep:
as golden, and as quiet.

(From the obituary of Benson, England’s best loved fish. Submitted by Mat Riches)

Post-Painterly Abstraction

for Helen Frankenthaler

She departed from the romantic search
for the sublime to pursue her own path,
pouring turpentine-thinned paint
in watery washes onto raw canvas
so that it soaked into the fabric weave
becoming one with it.

Her method emphasized flat surface
over illusory depth and the nature of paint,
releasing color from the gestural approach
and romantic rhetoric of Abstract Expressionism,
landscapes looking to many like a large paint rag
casually accidental and incomplete.

From the biography of Helen Frankenthaler in the New York Times. Phrases have been picked from the article and put together, in order, instead of one whole excerpt. Submitted by Jenni B. Baker.