Emalisa Rose

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Art by Gene McCormick

Blanche on the boulevard

She teased hair up to Timbuktu;

Blanche on the boulevard. I was
under those helmet head dryers
pretending to not hear, but I did
hear, all that gossip, the makeup
tips, recipes and how to curse in
three different languages.

They talked about chicks knocked
up, stockbrokers and the jerks in the
joint, how to french kiss and make
cat liner eyes, how to, not get knocked
up and a thing called ‘abortion’
whatever it was.

I was barely 14, but took it all in,
getting schooled at the hair salon,

Late 1960’s, when I learned about
embryos, silver spoons, plastic spoons,
sisterhood and how to recycle the
roast beef.

Lunch on a mattress

Joe and Marlena, lunch dates on Tuesdays,
the joint by the parkway, facing the
flipside, where the weeds grow most lonely.

He liked it with lights on, but gave her no
eyes, rarely a look past the top of her torso.

Tuesdays, high noon; the room without
view. For 36 weeks, the toilet still talking.

Joe and Marlena, two of a trillion, doing the
wild thing; donuts and dildos and a flask
full of rye.

Jane signs the papers

It wasn’t the cheating, the pileup
of credit card bills, his negligent
hygiene, or his penchant for porno,
that did it for Jane.

It was that shrill conversation, with
bile in their hearts, as they did that
same thing, that they did and redid -

a push and a pull, a tug of war, tightrope
duet of polemics.

The final thread they’d debate -

“Should a house have both a toilet
and kitchen sink plunger?”

“Can’t we use one, for both rooms,”
Tommy said, as Jane was grossed out.

And so on and so on, it went without
letup, till Jane signed the papers.


When not writing poetry, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting and walking with her birding group.
She volunteers in animal rescue. Her latest collection is On the Whims of the Crosscurrents,
published by Red Wolf Editions.