Into the Skid
for Alexis Rhone Fancher
The year I lost my virginity,
Marilyn Monroe took her own life.
She’d had it.
She didn’t want it anymore.
She didn’t care about John Glenn
orbiting the earth. She’d orbited
the earth lots of times
with champagne and Nembutal
waltzing elegantly in her magical body.
I cared about orbiting the earth
and figured losing my virginity
would be about the same thing.
We’d been to see “West Side Story”
and our shared grief at Tony’s demise
and Maria’s devastation took us
to the Los Cochinos Motel
(Hourly, Daily, Monthly Rates–Free T.V!).
There, in the aluminum light
of Gunsmoke’s dusty tribulations,
I unbuttoned my blouse,
he unbuttoned his jeans,
I unzipped my skirt,
he took off his socks,
I dug in my purse for a mint,
he dug in his pocket for a condom.
Stripping, I thought,
surely doesn’t take long.
The Beatles were on the radio,
sang “Love Me Do,” and that’s
what I was thinking as he tried
to figure out where to touch me
to unleash my passion. My passion
seemed to want to stay leashed.
The progression from there
is everyone’s story:
the French Kiss,
the hard, close embrace,
the tweaking and the tracing–
that unskilled first dance
that everyone knows.
It took 12 minutes; I counted them,
peering somewhat unsteadily
at my Timex watch–a graduation gift
from my parents. It kept good time.
I must confess, I was unimpressed.
He said, You’ll get to like it the more we do it.
When I told my roommate about it,
she said the whole sex thing was an
orchestrated hoax, laid on women
to keep them encumbered and enslaved.
She said that, during our lifetimes,
there might be a few encounters that would
produce momentary ecstasy, but, to stay sane,
I shouldn’t depend on that
The night we went to see “Dr. No,”
he started to drive in to Los Cochinos again.
I protested. I said, not this time. He said,
The more we do it, the better you’ll like it.
“We?” I thought, “Meaning you and me?
“We?” I thought, and dropped him like a hot rock.
When I nudged my IV Pole down the hallway,
I thought of myself as a snail.
The floors–slick and clean–warned me to venture
slowly and leave no trail–I was, after all,
so much lighter than usual and was somewzat
addicted to proving myself.
So, I walked, slowly, looking down at my feet,
wondering how a hospital stay
could take away my warm, soft, sexy feet
and leave these icy, wrinkled, bluelined feet
in their stead.
Then there was the dead end of the hallway,
right smack in front of me
a plane of choices:
go to the right, no go left, no, best to turn around
and go back to my room;
best to let the IV Pole know rest, let a warmed
blanket hide and hug my self.
Really quite ill says the doctor. Really ill for now,
but we’ll get you better.
The snail in me uncurls, straightens out on the bed.
The snail believes in getting better.
* Theba pisana, commonly named the White Garden Snail, is an edible species of medium-sized, air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Helicidae, the typical snails. (Source: Wikipedia)
Martina Reisz Newberry is the author of 6 books of poetry. Her most recent book is BLUES FOR FRENCH ROAST WITH CHICORY, available from Deerbrook Editions. She is the author of NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE ( from Deerbrook Editions), and TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (Unsolicited Press). She is also the author of WHERE IT GOES (Deerbrook Editions). LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press). She has been included in “The Sixty Four Best Poets of 2018” (Black Mountain Press/The Halcyone Magazine editorial staff). Newberry has been included in As It Ought to Be, Big Windows, Courtship of Winds, The Cenacle, Cog, Futures Trading, and many other literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. Her work is included in the anthologies Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Moontide Press Horror Anthology, A Decade of Sundays: L.A.’s Second Sunday Poetry Series-The First Ten Years, In The Company Of Women, Blessed Are These Hands and Veils, and Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative.