Booty Call


In Sea Isle City, signs are posted:
Take it slow for the turtles.
Every summer they cross the pavement
from bay to beach, like us.
Pleasure Avenue is the name of this road
and even if we don’t give a whit about turtles
we are compelled to check our speed.
If we travel long enough from the casino bus,
Pleasure Avenue will lead us to oldies night
at Busch’s, where we can, if we’re quick, beat out
the white haired ladies for a place at the end of the bar
to sit with our handbags swaddled to our chests
like the babies we never had. It’s the best
spot to sip a martini and survey the kingdom
of nothing else to do on a Saturday night.

The dj spins tunes for women with thickening midriffs,
reclaiming their youth on the dance floor.
We need to take our pleasure as we can.
When I pause just a beat too long before saying no
to the married guy in the ballcap—the only guy
I want to dance with—who do I think is watching?
Why do the turtles lay their eggs in the sand
and not the mud? God has his head in the clouds.
He flips a coin to decide which side
is the wrong side. Watch as He sets up a quarter
on the back of His thumb. Watch the female turtles
and their newborn young take their marks
along Pleasure Avenue, the ocean side,
as the hot pavement sweats, once again
risking everything to answer an ancient
and insistent booty call.


A version of this poem was first published by Uphook Press in its anthology, Gapeseed. It also makes an appearance in the play, "The Old In and Out."

No comments:

Post a Comment