Subterranean Lovesick Clues
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By Alexis Rhone Fancher*

1.

I remember listening

to Bob Dylan in Donna Melville’s attic

bedroom, 3 a.m. We were

drinking her daddy’s bourbon, playing

Subterranean Homesick Blues over and over,

memorizing it word by mumbled word.

Johnny’s in the basement,

mixing up the medicine, I’m on the pavement, thinkin’ ‘bout

the government… Donna passed me the bottle. The bourbon made me sick but I took a swig anyway. I didn’t want her to think I was a lightweight. The word might get

around.

Maggie comes fleet foot, face full of black soot…

 

Donna took the bottle to her lips, her moon face flushed,

beautiful. She was my first Catholic and I was in

awe of the certainty of her faith, couldn’t take my eyes off

the lucky gold crucifix that dangled between her breasts.

“What do you think Freewheelin’ means?”

We were on the bed, pretending to study

the album cover, Dylan and some blond on

a New York street, looking happy. “I think it means fuck the

consequences, just do what you want,” I said.

Drunk, reckless, soon I’m ready to do what I want –

let my hand slip from the

album jacket to Donna’s left breast. Her sharp intake of breath. My tom-tom heart.

Look out kid, it’s somethin’ you did God knows when but you’re doin’ it again…

 

These were the moments I lived for at 13: the hot, disheveled solace

of Donna’s attic room, her clueless family asleep below,

Dylan’s growl on the stereo,

Donna in my arms, her lips on mine, her tongue down my throat,

Fingers fumbling with my zipper.

 

2.

Get dressed get blessed try to be a success…

3.

Donna hits the Confessional.

“Father, forgive me for I have sinned.”

I am that sin. I listen in.

“I kissed a girl,” says my girl.

“You’ll go to hell,” says the desiccated

man in the box.

 

4.

light yourself a candle…

you can’t afford the scandals…

5.

The Gospel According To St. Donna:

She is the innocent,

I am the sin.

I am the bad girl

That let the sin in.

 

6.

I remember listening

to Bob Dylan in Donna Melville’s attic

bedroom, 3 a.m., the last time I drank

her daddy’s bourbon, the last time we ever touched.

This was the moment I dreaded at 14: Afraid of

the spark, afraid of her own ignition –

Donna changed the rules.

Jesus had entered the bedroom.

“See ya,” Donna said as she walked me

out of her life.

“Soon?” I asked. ( A girl can dream, right?)

“Sure,” she said.

7.

She didn’t call.

I didn’t call back.

 

You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows…

 ___

*Writer/photographer Alexis Rhone Fancher’s latest chapbook is Gidget Goes To The Ghetto. Her “pillow book,” explicit, came out in 2010. She studies with the poet Jack Grapes, and is a member of his L.A. Poets & Writers Collective. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Gutter Eloquence Magazine, Downer Magazine, Bare Hands Anthology. She was recently named poetry editor of Cultural Weekly, where this poem was first published. Contact her at hotnovelist@me.com.
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Comments

  1. […] out “Subterranean Lovesick Clues” — a great poem about an early sexual […]

  2. Kate O'donnell Says: December 5, 2012 at 11:20 am

    The power of raging hormones and sexual investigation
    are locked into the pace of Dylan’s beat.
    Let us not forget our Donnas.
    Well said, Alexis Rhone Fancher.

  3. A breathless poem by a breathless poet, each image so vivid and immediate you feel you’re there yourself, want to join in on the freewheeling passion of it. The poet’s technique and craft, the language, and the apparent simplicity offer us a work of art that is memorable and compelling. Great work Alexis. More more more.

  4. I love the sexy tension between Dylan’s lyrics and your seductive journey. Brilliant work, Alexis! And thank you, Sam, for publishing this perfect and risky poet.

  5. Chanel Brenner Says: December 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I love how you wove the Dylan lyrics into this poem. I was right there with you and Donna, only I was hearing the Red Hot Chili Peppers version.

  6. Love this naughty little number, Alexis. Storytelling at its best.

  7. Exciting poem, Alexis. That songwriter you’re quoting wasn’t bad either.

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