Glamour Girl (from Get Happy)

if you want to be like those glamour girls
in 1940s photoplays
show up at the club
in a perfect black dress
wearing a snap brim hat
like the singer in the house band
kick off your shoes
and dance like you’re drunk

don’t get up on the table
you know you’ll fall
never look natural
be all showgirl

do everything you can
to keep yourself lovely
we all need you to shine

you’ve already won the beauty contest
you’re everyone’s dream girl
you’ve got a free ticket

you came glimmering in
it’s your exit that’s dark
and where’re your shoes?

you dance off-balance
but enough men stand by
one of them will catch you

every one of them worries
how you’ll get home
your soul “burning with desire
for charm and beauty”
and a boyfriend who’ll find your shoes

this doesn’t have to end in tragedy
this is a club in Toronto
not a back alley of Hollywood
it’s not even midnight
how wonderful you’re here
dizzy from dancing
still able to smile

they’re all thinking you’re they’re baby
they’re all thinking you’re the one
but they don’t know Susie
the way I know Susie
I know Susie doesn’t know Susie

It’s wonderful to be the perfect woman
but I know that you’re more beautiful
without the persona

I can tell from the pictures
you’re not really there
they turn out more clearly
when I look at the negatives

you yearn for memories that flash and burn
you hint darkly of strange companions
you have a schoolgirl complexion
and a grown woman’s complications
you may still be here in the flesh
but you’ve already made a fresh start
somewhere else
a secondary detour with someone else
the naïve guy still waiting in the wings
the prince charming who’ll find your shoes
it doesn’t take much plot
when there’s a femme fatale
at the centre of her own story
I’ve read the book
and I still want to dance with you
you’re the opposite of Cinderella
you take your shoes off to swing
if I hold you tight enough
maybe I’ll cure what ails you
but for now
flattery is what matters
you want a man to hold you up
someone who agrees with your skin
and the shape of the dress you’re in

you imagine yourself in a movie
“the beautiful slave girl
in the lovely misery
of surrender”
this way you’ll be his forever

You’re like Marilyn Monroe in Niagara
we’re always aware of water
rushing over the falls
and despite the scenery
we spend all our time in a haunted house

something is cracked and broken
there might be ‘yes, yes’ in your eyes
but all I hear is No! No!
like some girl in need of rescue
but your cry for help is just part the show
there are no simple joys in your future
and none of us have 3-D glasses

I want something superfluous safely removed
I want to rinse out irony
wash away artfulness
rinse glamour, rinse vanity, rinse void
rinse alcohol, rinse tobacco, rinse guilt
rinse away your mother, rinse expectations

“any talking machine will reproduce noise
but the charm of sound” comes
only from your own breath

shake off the tight corset
on the showgirl figure
you’re fully developed
in your natural shape

I’m not just throwing you a lifebuoy
some new kind of soap
I’m not offering you the Keeley Cure
Or Wonderland

I don’t want a rendezvous
at the Cactus Motel
or true romance

just give me
the real intimacy
of a Saturday dance


Nicholas Power


About Nicholas Power

The poetry of Nicholas Power and his reviews of singular poems in a sequence titled Cadence.
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