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Big Hair

Rating: 3.5
Ithaca, October 1993: Jorie went on a lingerie
tear, wanting to look like a moll
in a Chandler novel. Dinner, consisting of three parts gin
and one part lime juice cordial, was a prelude to her hair.
There are, she said, poems that can be written
only when the poet is clad in black underwear.

But that's Jorie for you. Always cracking wise, always where
the action is, the lights, and the sexy lingerie.
Poems, she said, were meant to be written
on the run, like ladders on the stockings of a gun moll
at a bar. Jorie had to introduce the other poet with the fabulous hair
that night. She'd have preferred to work out at the gym.

She'd have preferred to work out with Jim.
She'd have preferred to be anywhere
but here, where young men gawked at her hair
and old men swooned at the thought of her lingerie.
"If you've seen one, you've seen the moll,"
Jorie said when asked about C. "Everything she's written

is an imitation of E." Some poems can be written
only when the poet has fortified herself with gin.
Others come easily to one as feckless as Moll
Flanders. Jorie beamed. "It happened here,"
she said. She had worn her best lingerie,
and D. made the expected pass at her. "My hair

was big that night, not that I make a fetish of hair,
but some poems must not be written
by bald sopranos." That night she lectured on lingerie
to an enthusiastic audience of female gymnasts and gin-
drinking males. "Utopia," she said, "is nowhere."
This prompted one critic to declare that, of them all,

all the poets with hair, Jorie was the fairest moll.
The New York Times voted her "best hair."
Iowa City was said to be the place where
all aspiring poets went, their poems written
on water, with blanks instead of words, a tonic
of silence in the heart of noise, and a vision of lingerie

in the bright morning -- the lingerie to be worn by a moll
holding a tumbler of gin, with her hair
wet from the shower and her best poems waiting to be written.
Geeta Radhakrishna Menon 23 December 2017
Big Hair is a funny poem - a subject so different from the normal.
1 0 Reply
Dr Dillip K Swain 23 December 2017
An excellent poem by David Lehman!
1 0 Reply
Anil Kumar Panda 23 December 2017
Excellent piece of poetry. Thanks for sharing.
1 0 Reply
Deepak Kumar Pattanayak 23 December 2017
It set me thinking about what it is........still I guess if a horse sweats in the stable, then moll in lingerie white or black has been upon his back.........so to flow poems unclosed.......funny indeed.......thanks for sharing
0 0 Reply
Bernard F. Asuncion 23 December 2017
Such a brilliant write by David Lehman??????
0 0 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 23 December 2017
Preferred to work! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
0 0 Reply
Susan Williams 16 December 2015
I have no particular reason but I smiled all the way through this
17 0 Reply

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