The Poetess

by Doug Dawson

I thought I was smart – 39 years old and still running around – a sexual libertine who loved wild women and sexual conquests. Over the years I’d cut a swath through the arts community and in my spare time dated love-starved ex-nuns, socialites, cheating housewives, well-padded matrons, a swimsuit model, a 19-year-old college cutie and if I hadn’t been afraid of catching a disease I would have tried every fornicatrix, trollop and strumpet out there. What I hadn’t done I’d imagined, like being attended to by randy female boxers and exponents of the flying trapeze, lady doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs, salacious sky divers and astronauts. I mean, why not have them all, at least in your dreams? I had a good sex life and imagined a better one, the kind few people have ever had. But that was B.P. – Before the Poetess. Now it’s A.P. (After the Poetess, if you hadn’t guessed) and nowadays I prefer a female personality as calm and mild as tepid bathwater.

Now who could take a bon-vivant like myself, full of bonhomie and good will and reduce him to a cross between a bitter, burned out shell of a man and a sexual milquetoast who craves nothing more than platonic dating, a little high-minded, missionary-position-only sex and overall a life without drama? I’ll tell you who: a woman of impeccable face and form, an artiste and a gifted poet, and what’s wrong with that, you ask? Give me a few minutes of your time and I’ll tell you.

It started six months ago. My artist friend Sharon invited me to a cocktail party for singles of the artistic persuasion. These artsy crowds can be just a bit pretentious and to be on the safe side I wore my beige dress pants, yellow turtleneck, navy blazer and burgundy penny loafers and wondered if a beret would have been too much. When I arrived, I did a quick look-around, noted the usual crop of writers, poets, sculptors, classical musicians and painters – me being one of the latter – and decided my careful outfit selection had rendered me more college professor than painter. “Oh, well” I thought, “at least I’m not smoking a pipe or a Du Maurier cigarette.”

A veteran of such soirees, I had my eye on a Thomas McKnight hanging on the wall, wondering if it was a numbered print or even an original – our host was a man of considerable means and hanging a humble poster on one of his walls would be, well, not only déclassé but completely out of the question. I was thinking this party could hold no surprises for me when Sharon walked up and interrupted my reverie with “There’s somebody I want you to meet.” Suffice it to say I almost dropped my Dubonnet with a twist of lemon in it when I took a gander at the somebody I was to meet.

“Harry, this is Mindy Mink,” said Sharon. “She’s new in town. I told her all about you.”

I delivered the obligatory “Don’t believe a thing she told you” line then gave Mindy as subtle a once-over as I know how and I’m not ashamed to say it wasn’t so subtle. If I could have commented out loud without sounding like an uncouth dullard, the first word out of my mouth would have been “Magnifique!” the second, as I noted her bust, would have been “Incroyable!” and I might have followed up with “Cherchez la femme” or even “Sacre Bleu,” whether it fit the occasion or not.

Forgive me for being blunt, but I’m a breast man and this woman was one of the finest specimens of feminine pulchritude I’d ever had the pleasure to admire. You are speaking to a connoisseur of all types of décolletage and breast size, from the tiny, with protruding nipples, to the heavy hangers, with flat nipples and wide areolas so big you can’t get your mouth around them. Nothing gets my attention faster than an ample bosom, but what was before me was simply… stupefying. Mindy “pulled the hat trick,” as I refer to it on the rare occasions when it happens; she was beautiful, with a concomitant figure and far more important, she completely filled out her blouse, discreetly covered as it was by a jacket-like top which matched her skirt. In fact, it wasn’t just Mindy that got my attention, for her clothing reminded me of those girlish October fest outfits redolent of Old-World Europe. Her blouse was white and frilly, her matching skirt and jacket, an ochre of the kind Rembrandt often used in his chiaroscuro paintings. She even wore baby-doll shoes with lots of toe cleavage, complementing her ensemble, completing the picture, so to speak and causing me to conclude: “Simply smashing,” – to myself, of course.

Back to cases, for when I say Mindy filled out her blouse, I am understating the matter, but that’s not the salient point, for it’s the way she filled it out that took my breath away. Most well-endowed women sag and that’s no fault of theirs, for gravity has its way with all of us and in any case such women just don’t have the shape of women who are more modestly endowed.

“Mindy’s got them” I thought, almost exclaiming it out loud, “bodacious ta-tas” and please forgive this crude expression which probably came from some lout in a bar (yes, bar – lots of women in bars, that’s why I go to them). What shocked me was not their sheer size – all right yes, their sheer size, but also their shape, as best one can tell when a blouse and brassiere are in the way, and the way they projected forward like twin torpedoes on their way to sink a battleship. Already plotting my strategy to get at her, I tried to imagine this Mink woman topless and the thought that I could never be that lucky stopped me from forming a clear picture in my mind – the first time my powers of visualization ever failed me.

I didn’t say anything for what seemed like a full minute, as I was a little taken aback and it felt like all the words had run out, so to speak. By the time they came back Sharon had left us alone and Mindy was talking to me like I was the only person in the room. She’s a poet and that turned me on, too. We talked for what seemed like an hour then, just to be polite, we made the rounds side by side, talking to the others at the party like we were a couple of long standing.

Mindy made me feel like I already meant something to her and I was quickly finding a niche on cloud nine when she pulled me aside and asked “Why don’t we go back to my apartment?”

I didn’t need any convincing and never stopped to wonder if we were being obvious, meeting for the first time and taking off together like that. Mindy lived in an expensive-looking apartment building on the prosperous north side of town and the lobby was what I’d call sort-of-opulent, with marble floors and lots of stuffed sofas with pillows. We took an elevator ride up to the thirteenth floor and she held my hand the whole time. If I’d been asked to pick a dream date – something wonderful to imagine, but that doesn’t happen in the real world – this would have been it. How could I know that things were soon to get much better?

Mindy’s apartment was quite spare and by that I mean very little furniture. The place seemed to be just one big living room. There were shelves along the walls, all of them full of books and papers, some chairs and a long table full of more papers, like they were all works in progress. There was a litter box under the table but no cat in sight, a small couch and a baby grand piano. It was the latter than got my attention, not for itself, but for what was under it: several cat turds. The latter could have meant several things and I didn’t want to jump to any wrong conclusions, not with a bust like Mindy’s at stake. For one thing, her cat may have simply “missed the litter box,” but what cat is that clumsy? It also could have meant that the cat had done it while Mindy was at the party and the poor little thing may have suffered dyspepsia, “gasid indigestion” or even some feline sort of explosive diarrhea. The other possibility was that things were always like that in this apartment and that wasn’t a possibility I found comforting, so I ignored it.

Mindy works fast and she wasted no time with me. She carefully placed me on the couch then sat in my lap, close enough for me to feel her body heat then removed her jacket-like top. I figured she was just warm but then she removed her blouse and my pulse raced in a way that scared me. To this day I’ve never seen a more wondrous cleavage and I truly admired her bra for being able to support her the way it did. Next the bra came off and Mindy put my hands on her breasts – not just on them, mind you, but under them, like I was now her bra, supporting their full weight and girth. Then she wrapped her arms around me. I must pick my words carefully here, for trite expressions like “great rack” and “played with her tits” merely diminish me and the experience. What I can tell you is that my first bust-busting-out-of-blouse impression of Mindy was not disappointed. Now I’m “talkin’ to ya plain,” as my uncle used to say to me, so let me continue in the same vein: her tits were soft, all right, but firm and my God, how they hung – forward and out like the two zucchinis I should have been able to imagine at the party. I’ve never had a feel like that in my life and was thanking my lucky stars and meanwhile she was kissing me to beat the band. Well, my trousers were getting tighter by the second and I was starting to hope old Mindy was about to top the hat trick I referred to earlier and complete my sexual bliss when she stopped me, just like that.

“I have to take a nap,” was all she said. She just put her bra back on, then the blouse, buttoned up and was off to the bedroom.

What’s a fellow to do in such circumstances? Rush into the bedroom and “possess her,” only to be later accused of date rape? Then again maybe she wanted me to follow – perhaps that was her way of seducing me, I mean you can’t say I wasn’t encouraged. I want you to think that I am a gentleman and dammit, I am, but all’s fair in love and war and I felt I couldn’t let things stand as they were, especially my throbbing manhood, so I tip-toed after her. The bedroom door was left ajar, so I peeked in and by that time she was already asleep, a fact confirmed by her snoring. So, there I was, boner-in-trousers – do I have to tell you how uncomfortable that is? – my heart racing and nowhere to go but to the bathroom to relieve myself, out the door and home or back to the couch. I chose the latter and forty-five minutes later my pants felt a lot looser and Mindy was back on the couch talking to me about her poetry, but this time no bare titties, no feel and no kissy-face. Now you’ve just been privy to some frank, hard-hitting talk about my sexual feelings, but lest you think I am merely some sort of one-dimensional walking phallus, let me remind you that at heart I am an artiste and really wanted to hear what Mindy’s poetry was like, so I asked her to read it.

She went to her long table and pushed the papers around until she found the one she wanted. “Here’s one of my favorites,” she said. “It’s called ‘A Poet’s Life.’ It went as follows:

How do I write for thee?

Let me count the ways: a poem, a sonnet, a verse, an ode! I shout, I scream, I yell to all creation what I have to say and here it is:

How do I find the words? I fear I shan’t – then again, I shan.

See this typewriter before me – well do you?

Each key has its own ambidextrous arm attached,

Each shaft a lethal lance with a letter,

Each alphabetical appendage a phallus, raping the white paper below,

Each key expressing genius with a furious, belligerent puddle of ink,

Raining down dank ruin on porous paper, creating a floodtide,

Portending the End of the World, smashing all that is, as I

End it all with the might of the terrible, swift sword that is my typewriter;

Do you see it now? Fear it!

She turned to me and asked “How do you like it?”

“It’s remarkable,” I answered and really thought it was, though what else it may have been I couldn’t say. I couldn’t even decide if the obvious borrowing of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” was plagiarism or brilliant parody. And “shan” – is that even a word?

“I’ll read another, ” said Mindy. “This is called ‘Express Elevator.'”

I’m thirteen stories up and thinking about taking the Express Elevator.

I’d parachute, but there’s no time for the chute to open.

I could lower myself down on a rope, but I’d probably slip.

Or shimmy down a drainpipe, but the neighbors might laugh.

I always told my parents I’d make a big splash someday.

I’ll take the Express Elevator, straight down to the pavement below.

It’ll be a mess, all right, but it will end this tormented train ride of terror I’ve been taking for

thirty-three wenching, wrenching years.

No more waiting for the checks from my parents,

No more men staring at my tits,

No more gnarling and washing of my teeth,

Or should that be wailing and gnashing of my teeth?

I’m no Bible scholar, you know, so what the fuck do you want from me?

At any rate, I scream, I fall, I turn into a bloody pool, in a love-death

embrace with the pavement below.

It was quite a ride, the Express Elevator. Care to take it with me?

“Well,” she said, “how do you like it?”

“I’m… stupefied,” I answered, quite correctly.

“Here’s one more,” she went on before I could stop her. “It’s about this kid. I call it “Crucifixion.”

I was truly afraid of what I might hear, so I stood up and practically shouted at her: “My God! The time! I just looked at my watch.”

“Oh, you have to go,” she said, not even a little annoyed.

“Yes, I do.”

“You’ll have to come up and see me again. I’ll call you – you did give me your number, didn’t you?”

I nodded then headed for the front door. She followed me to the door and stood close, like she expected a kiss goodbye, so I turned to face her. She turned her head sideways and allowed me to kiss her on the cheek and I left. I was still plenty turned on and impressed with her considerable, if bizarre, powers of poetic description. Still I was disturbed by it, not to mention the pile of cat shit on the floor, but felt I needed time to digest it all, in a manner of speaking.

I thought about nothing but Mindy the next few days as I worked on a painting, talked to potential customers and made the usual rounds of galleries, bars and taverns. I couldn’t decide if she was a little loco or just an eccentric artist. When I talked to my poet friends Mindy’s name came up several times, for she is known both for her poetry and performance pieces, which I took to be some kind of multimedia art, involving avant-garde theatre, music and poetry. I came to the conclusion that my first judgment of her had been hasty, that I ran out of her apartment because I’d experienced something I wasn’t prepared for. It crossed my mind that artists are unusual people and consequently misunderstood, that I’m unusual. I recalled the sad story of Sylvia Plath, which made me feel sympathetic and legitimized the whole suicidal-poet thing. I began to see Mindy’s poems as attempts to reach out with her deepest feelings, something most of us, including artists, are often too “sophisticated” and guarded to do. Then again, there were her alluring looks and sumptuous body to consider, so I called and asked her to visit one of the local art galleries with me.

When I picked her up, she looked even more appetizing than previously, even in her simple pants-and-blouse outfit, over which a coat hid her ample assets. “It can’t be her clothes,” I thought, “not this time.” I realized the date was a test, a sanity check, to make sure she was safe and sane, but that didn’t stop me from having little pangs of yearning. Let’s face it, when you’ve been single all your life, you’re missing something – call it closeness, bonding or whatever you want to. We walked around hand-in-hand, enjoying the art and each other’s company. On the way back we stopped at a little Italian restaurant, where she seemed to like the food and our talk about the arts. When I walked her to the door of her apartment, I was hoping for close encounter of the first kind – from the first time I visited her apartment, that is, but she said she needed to rest. I told her I’d call her in a few days and she said that would be fine. If the date had indeed been a test, she’d passed it with flying colors. Maybe it took physical attraction and an enormous pair of tits to bring it out of me, but I was starting to want her in a way that was more than sexual.

When I called a few days later Mindy sounded like she was in good spirits and I was ready for her. I’d found out about a cafe where they had poetry readings of the type knows as “slams” and asked her to go to one with me. The reading was at eight o’clock the following evening.

We arrived at seven for dinner and Mindy said “I don’t drink,” when queried about wine or cocktails. She seemed to like the place and the food, so I felt that whatever else happened that evening, I was racking up some points with her. When it was time for the slam to begin Mindy seemed energized. Trained in academia, she had little familiarity with street talk and culture but nevertheless seemed to enjoy the animated poets, who punctuated their rhyming, rap-like personal stories with aggressive gestures that reminded me of karate chops and punches. Whatever she thought of it all, she paid close attention. When the last poet finished, she looked at me as if she’d had a revelation.

“Hope you enjoyed it,” I said and she responded by holding my hand.

When I escorted her to her door, I had my hopes but settled for a goodnight kiss, as it was late and she was tired.

She went inside, started to close the door, then turned and said “I’m having a get-together in my apartment next week – would you like to come?”

“Of course,” I answered.

She explained it would be a poetry reading and a rehearsal of some sort. I was glad to be invited, both for my own curiosity about her work and mostly just to be near her.

A week later she called to say she wanted me to come over the next evening at 6 o’clock, at which time she’d have a wine and cheese gathering, followed by a rehearsal of her latest performance piece. I showed up fashionably late and walked in to find a group of about fifteen people, some standing and talking, others on the floor, performing motions which made me think some were doing yoga and others Pilates. I guessed they were warming up for some sort of dance. I poured myself a glass of wine, had some cheese on a cracker and tried to talk to Mindy, who was occupied with planning the rehearsal of her piece. I stood next to a very short and slightly stocky fellow who appeared to be a few years younger than me. We got to talking and he seemed a bit odd but was nevertheless very friendly.

“This is Frank, my boyfriend,” said Mindy, as she turned and stood next to the young man I’d been speaking to. As Mindy was rather tall, they made a true Mutt and Jeff team, not to mention the fact that on my scale she was a ten and he didn’t register anything at all. I continued to drink wine, eat cheese and crackers and talk to this fellow Frank, for I wondered what he had, if anything, that made him so lucky as to be designated “her boyfriend” and what exactly the latter term meant. Finally, Mindy and her friends were ready to begin.

“This piece is accompanied by the reading of my poem,” said Mindy,

as everyone stopped what they were doing to listen. Now you all know my style, but this one’s completely different – it’s my very first rhyming poem. I call it “Crucifixion.”

This red-haired kid who lives nearby

Does all he can to make me cry.

He calls me “douche bag” and “big tits”

I guess that’s how he gets his kicks.

I made a fist and tried to hit him,

Even tho’ he’s mighty quick.

He went and told his parents on me –

Dirty, rotten little prick!

This vile little sack of sin,

I’d find a bag to stuff him in.

But I decided how to fix him –

We will have a crucifixion!

In Mindy’s new rhyming style I sensed connection to the poetry slam, though I didn’t say anything about it.

“All right, everybody in their places,” ordered Mindy, who stood in the center of the room, hands raised like a symphony conductor, waiting for everyone to get ready. All seven players found their places on the floor and looked up, waiting for Mindy, who started waving her hands as if directing an orchestra. The players all went into bizarre, helter-skelter motion, rolling on the floor, flailing arms and legs and making facial contortions. One fellow stood on his head and pretended to scream, though he uttered nary a sound. Another stood behind the couch, making grotesque faces, then all at once tumbled over the back of the couch, onto the couch itself and then onto the floor, muttering “oh, my God,” the whole time.

“This makes Theatre of the Absurd seem logical as hell,” I thought.

Somehow Mindy found fault with the studied chaos around her and shouted “Do it right – you’re losing the meaning of the play!” She stopped her conducting and all the players became motionless.

“We’ll start again,” commanded Mindy, raising her arms and directing everyone in what appeared to be the exact same frenzy as before, including the upside-down fellow who pretended to scream. This time it was acceptable, apparently and the contortions and flailing went on until Mindy pointed to one of her male players, who was writhing on the floor, in apparent agony, or ecstasy – I couldn’t tell which. This player stood up, went to the wall and stood, head hanging forward, arms stretched as if on a cross, at which point the other players stood, approached him and pretended to nail his wrists, beat him and apply a crown of thorns.

Mindy stopped her conducting and read aloud:

“Snap! Crack! Go the lovely lashes from a red-hot whip

That rends the flesh ’till white bones show.

Nine-inch nails, pounded through stinging wrists,

A crown of thorns that feels like fangs

The agony of the damned, who suffers the longest day of his life,

Each second an hour, each minute an eon

Swells to a white-hot crescendo as the end draws near.

The essence of a callous wretch spills out

Like the crimson juice of a beet, squashed by the boot of righteousness,

Like the evil red of his heathen hair, set afire by angels of vengeance.

Nothing more to say, nothing more to do, for he is no more.

His suffering ends in this valley of the damned – so be it.”

Mindy stopped and took a deep bow and everyone there applauded.

“Surely it’s a joke,” I thought. Everyone went back to drinking wine and munching cheese and crackers and I indulged in small talk with several of them, who were local actors. Finally, it was nine o’clock and Mindy announced it was time for her nap. Everyone left but I stayed behind.

“Want me to wait up for you?” I asked, sounding as innocent as I knew how.

“Why?” she replied.

“I have to be honest, Mindy,” I nearly panted, for this woman, despite her wacky poetry and performance piece, really got to me. “You knock me out, your company, your poetry… everything – I think you’re fantastic. You nap as long as you want, I’ll watch TV or something and when you’re up we can hang out – sound good?”

“Not tonight,” she protested. “Maybe some other time.”

“I’m only trying to be closer to you,” I whined, sounding more than a little desperate, I’m sure.

She just smiled at me and I almost thought I perceived a smirk, like she’d been through all this with men before, like she was laughing at me. I decided to take my losses and get out of there.

“G’night,” I said as I walked out the door.

Once again I rationalized away everything I’d experienced in Mindy’s apartment with thoughts like “Hell, can’t condemn every controversial author or artist for their work or you’d have to censor Bret Easton Ellis for writing “American Psycho” or jail every sculptor whose work created turmoil at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.” I pictured the target of Mindy’s ire as a teen-ager like some I’d known in school – never happy unless they’re breaking something or hurting someone’s feelings. I recalled high school jocks who thought anybody with artistic talent was not only gay but a wuss and even though they didn’t beat me up I despised them. With such thoughts in mind I smiled at Mindy’s reaction to an obnoxious kid and giggled at the theatrical torture she meted out. It was all just a little theatre piece; she didn’t advocate really hurting anyone, did she?

Over the next two weeks I talked to Mindy on the phone several times.  Each time I tried to ask her for a date something got in the way, like going away to visit her parents and the various things she had to do when she got back. I don’t know if she sensed how badly I wanted her but finally she called me. Her alleged boyfriend had just died and she needed some company. I was elated – not at someone’s death, of course, but at the chance to comfort her in her hour of need, to succor and support her. I was already giving up hope of “getting any” and by now was just grateful for the chance to be near her again. We made a date for the following evening.

When I arrived, Mindy came to the door in tears. I could see she was really shaken up, so I hugged her then we sat on the couch, but not too close.

“He jumped off the balcony,” was all she said.

I held her hand, not knowing what to do. If the expression “In for a penny, in for a pound” has any meaning at all, it tells how you’ll start with something small and fleeting, like my selfish desire for Mindy’s body and end up wanting to hold on and not let go, for after only a few weeks of knowing this woman I felt I’d do damn near anything just to be with her, wacky poetry or no.

“I’m sorry you lost a friend,” I said.

“It’s all right,” she answered. “He didn’t really support me or my poetry anyway.”

“But I thought he was your …”

“And I don’t think you do either.”

I didn’t like the way this conversation was going and so I said “Let’s get out of here.”

She looked at me for a moment as if puzzled and finally said “All right.”

I said “I know a movie that’s playing – it’ll help get your mind off things.”

She smiled at the idea, got up and grabbed a stack of her poetry and said “Let’s go.”

On the way out the door my eye caught sight of a little boy, sticking his head out of the apartment next door. He appeared to be about nine years old, with bright red hair. He looked at Mindy like he was afraid of her and I guessed he was the guy she’d crucified in effigy. I did wonder why Mindy needed to carry her poetry around just to go see a movie, but I knew better than to protest and a few minutes later I was parking my car down the block from a local theatre where “indie” movies played. Trying to be the perfect gentleman, I walked curbside of Mindy and wanted to hold her hand all the way to the theatre but the hand and the arm I wanted was firmly curled around the stack of poetry, which I decided must be a kind of emotional security blanket at a time when she’d just suffered a loss.

 I am still trying to figure out what happened next, or at least why it happened. There was a line at the box office and people were converging from all sides when Mindy seemed to come unglued. She looked at me wild-eyed, pushed me away and made erratic gestures with her free hand.

“C’mon honey,” I said, “everything’s all right, you’ve just had a shock …”

She pushed me away harder and I blurted “Mindy! Don’t have a fit! We’re just going to see a …”

At the word “fit” she must have starting swinging but I didn’t see it coming. Her closed fist hit me hard in the right eye before I could utter the word “movie” and next thing I knew I was holding both hands over an eye that was gushing big tears and hurting like hell. Mindy then screamed “Help!” like I was the one who hit her and she started running. Where she thought she was going I’ll never know, but there were so many people on the sidewalk she kept colliding with them, yelling “Help” at each encounter. Within seconds every eye within two blocks was focused on Mindy, who reminded me of one of the little steel balls in a pinball game, bouncing off the electric targets, each of which sends it careening in another direction. Finally, she made it through the crowd, down the block, toward a bar and disappeared inside. With my one good eye I strained to see and a few minutes later a taxi showed up and she ran out, got in and took off. I could only surmise the proprietor of the establishment called the cab to get rid of her – Mindy – the woman I wanted so badly, wanted her before she hit me, that is.

My damaged eye required me to wear an eye patch and take pain killers, but eventually it healed.

It seems funny, now that I look back, that my friend Sharon introduced me to Mindy but had no idea we were dating, as I hadn’t talked to her since the cocktail party that now seems a lifetime ago. She called to say hello about two weeks after my last outing with Mindy. I was finishing a painting I’d been commissioned to do, one that I was very proud of, not least because I’d completed most of it with only one good eye, when the phone rang. I hate being interrupted when I am applying the last few brush strokes and normally wouldn’t have answered, but something told me this call was important – it was.


“Harry! It’s Sharon. Haven’t spoken to you since the party. People have been asking about you. Where’ve you been?”

I hesitated before answering then blurted out: “I’ve been seeing your friend Mindy, as much as she let me, that is.”

“Mindy? Oh my God, I didn’t know …”

“Now you do.”

“You should have told me.”

“Told you what, that I was seeing her – why?”

“Sweetheart, you must know by now if you’ve been with her.”

“Know what?”

“She’s schizophrenic.”


“She’s been… you know, locked up in the past. She takes strong medication; she has to… to keep her sane. I don’t know her well but someone who does told me she’s one person half the time and when she’s writing her poetry or doing one of those performance pieces she doesn’t take her medicine because it stifles her creativity – she becomes a different person!”

I wanted to say “Now you tell me,” but I just thanked Sharon for the information and hung up. What she told me explained a great deal, like the fact that I’d fallen for the woman at the cocktail party, the one who turned me on that first time in her apartment as I’ve never been turned on before or since. That was the Mindy I took to the art museum and the poetry slam, while the woman of other-worldly, frightening poetry and unfathomable performance pieces was a dark abyss I’d come too close to and paid a high price for it. I’d loved a female Dr. Jekyll, who turned into Ms. Hyde in front of my very eyes.

I never saw Mindy again, save one time I was shopping. I was looking at leather jackets and who walks in but The Poetess. She seemed slightly unsteady on her feet, like people who take certain anti-psychotic medications. I didn’t know what I’d do or say if she approached but I didn’t have to worry, as the instant she saw me she turned around and ambled out as quickly as she could. I don’t know why, but by God a part of me wanted to follow her out and beg her to let me into her life again. Perhaps my subconscious mind felt that with a football helmet and some anti-personnel devices I’d be fine around her, but I guess I was still in love with the sane half of her, the only woman who’d ever pushed all my sexual buttons at once. What I felt the moment she hit me and when she walked out of that store can only be understood by someone who’s suffered a sudden and permanent loss, like a close relative in a fatal car crash, where one second they’re there, the next second they’re gone.

So that’s my story about a self-indulgent, womanizing painter with the hots for a crazy lady. The heart’s a strange place and it does strange things to us: what it’s done to me is that I’ve started writing poetry and tried to write one about my brief affair with Mindy. As far as I know how to make it so, it’s in her rhyming style – without the suicide and the violence, of course.

Horny Harry had a hard-on

He still has it to this day,

Never got to first base, so he

Paints to while his time away.

Horny Harry misses Mindy,

Even though she’s gone away.

You see, he’s lost his love and now he

Wishes it were yesterday.

To this day I can’t forget that first time in her apartment and no woman I meet begins to turn me on like she did. I feel like the cocaine addict who said the first time’s the greatest rush of your life and then you spend the rest of your life trying to get it back – and you never do. Did I learn anything from all I’ve been through – the womanizing, Mindy, the damaged eye, the loss I feel I suffered? Maybe the following poem will tell you; it comes straight from the heart.

The immature and callow man, who thinks he’s learned the most he can,

Will find a red rose oh so sweet he’ll rush to grovel at her feet.

Then finding her mirage and sham, an empty pearl within a clam

Becomes a sadder, wiser man – but do you think that’s what I am?

For I, my friend, am hardly wise – I loved a lady with two sides:

One side was a rose’s petal, the other twisted, jagged metal.

Thanks for listening – I’ll trouble you no more, for I have another painting to finish.

The Poetess

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