My Munch’s Scream Experience - Poem by Michael Philips
I can stand the psycho wincing
trauma of beginning violin players,
or the clay footed
surrender to gravity of
novice baseball players,
but somehow with belly dancers,
especially if they’re adults,
all I can think of are clichés –
fingers on the blackboard,
making a beeline for the exit.
A woman I once dated invited me
to watch her perform at a club
whose owner apparently thought
afternoon amateur belly dancing
would somehow attract patrons
to his dingy nicotine-stenched
piece of shit club.
It attracted several of us anyway,
each marooned at our own
lonely little tables for one.
And out they came like steer,
following their paint-by-numbers
like the center posts of washing machines,
remembering to say cheese and
drape the requisite scarves over
our shoulders, stepping semi-nimbly
in bare feet over cigarette-burned
I can’t remember another time
something was so painful
it made me laugh.
I did not wait a polite length of time
before making the proverbial beeline.
I called her later and apologized,
explaining I’d been sick to my stomach.
While on the phone,
I thought about those college students
who yell at politicians, “Have you no shame? ”
or throw pies in their face.
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