Humor, Poetry

The Tragic Fate of a Los Angeles Suck Artist

(About a 3 minute read)

Fresh out of grad school with a Masters
In Advanced Vibrator Repairs —
Of course I had a cocky attitude!
After all, wasn’t I in the same business as cocks?
A Fierce, stand-up competitor of flesh?
My confidence could not be shaken
Except by a Chinese-made Lucky Dragon’s Tongue
Industrial-Speed Model 2020,
Which could be weaponized to shake apart concrete.

But repairs didn’t really take off
Until I got a gig on the midnight shift
Of the Great Humor Company driving their ice cream truck —
For what combination beats powered sex with a creamy dessert?

Life was good for six months until one night
I got caught between the SWAT and the robbers
Down on Jackson at three-fifteen AM.
A Russian-made Dancing Bear Model 40A
That I was repairing at the time
(An insatiable client had plugged it into the 220 outlet again
In her forever futile hopes of attaining a near-earth orbit)
Took the bullet meant for me
But exploding splinters sent me to the hospital anyway.

That’s where I met her.

She was in a white dress so short
Her legs seemed to rise for yards to reach its hem.
Satin thighs and blue eyes framed by Nordic blonde hair
With the soft but angular face of an aristocrat
And the lips of a Los Angeles suck artist —
I knew at once she was my destiny,
My fated friend.

Some nurse’s misdirection had guided her to my room
Where she’d been perplexed to find
I was not the millionaire whose friends
Had sent her as a stripping get-well telegram,
But she offered to perform for me
Gratis out of sympathy for my blown off ear,
Which made her mistake me for an artist.

She herself had been a high honors grad
Working in macramé sculptures before the recession
Killed all demand. We hit it off at once
And were married within the month,
After which we settled into a lilac-painted cottage
That had once been home to a now famous man
Who’d moved out after making his fortune
Breeding racing ants for the posh Hollywood betting crowd.

For seven years we loved and laughed,
Laughed and cried, cried and lived life fully,
Like children playing in a sandbox on a sunny spring morning

Before she contracted an incurable case of terminal eyebrow psoriasis.

I buried her in her white dress, blue-jean cut-offs,
Denim dungarees, teddy-bear pattern bikini,
And strapless blue evening gown —
Her five favorite outfits — and dropped a yellow rose
On her coffin as it was lowered into her grave.

Now I’m back on the night shift,
Forcing myself to forget the past
For the sake of the present —
Worn and Weary but alive.

5 thoughts on “The Tragic Fate of a Los Angeles Suck Artist”

  1. Ok, Paul, this is the second of two poems that I have read today that have been penned by you that contain a strange and unexpected marriage in the middle. Is there a pattern here? But in this one perhaps it wasn’t love. Yellow roses symbolize friendship. smiles smugly at the one bit of symbolism that she actually gets


    1. Yes, it’s a pattern, but one I’m trying to break away from, because I think I might be overusing it in these two, and in other poems.

      Now that you make me think about it, Carla, when I was writing this one in a state of near exhaustion — as I often do write poetry — I was indeed trying to express more of a friendship between them than a love affair. That is, writing the poem is fresh enough in my mind that I can still look back to see I was thinking of them more as friends than as lovers. Hence, for example, they are like two children playing together in a sandbox — not like two teens on prom night whose braces have become entangled together, which is what the couple in the other poem are to each other.

      I think though, most of the imagery is not intended by me to be symbolic of any meaning, but rather to simply to be absurd images I’ve thrown in to get a chuckle. However — now and then, its a bit of both. The image of a posh crowd racing ants for pleasure was indeed consciously meant to be both an absurd (and hopefully funny) image, and at the same time, a symbol of the idle rich meant to gently criticize them for having no lives beyond living for pleasures.

      Thanks Carla, for getting me thinking about this.


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