Four Poems by Chad Frame






How Do You Drown a Blonde?

(Marilyn Monroe Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge)
I don’t mind making jokes, but I don’t like to look like one.
—Marilyn Monroe

A crane lifts a giant, perfume-filled heel
over Hollywood, girl in a white dress,
thousands of dollars of fragrance spilling
from the dipped Louboutin over an hour-
glass figure almost out of sand. 

                         What do 

I wear to bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, 

of course.

  One perfect, photographed moment—
her arched back and the crowd's collective gasp
in feigned shock and shared pleasure.

                                She sops, wet 
with ylang-ylang and may rose, white dress 
now cellophane, nothing under, her breasts 
the faces of children pressed to windows, 
their tongues out, fogging the glass as they strain 
to see. 

                 Flash bulbs are burning aldehydes, 
snuffed candles. Men leer and women whisper. 
Mascara flows downhill—black lifeblood spilled
unnoticed on dark asphalt. 

            A career 

is born in public. 

                               The crowd finishes 

howling for her sex, her blood, and scatters. 

Night pours in like a slow tide of bourbon. 

Talent in private. 

  In her hotel bed, 

she allows herself to laugh at the joke. 

The base notes dry and the pillbox rattles
to the floor. 

        Put a scratch and sniff sticker 
at the bottom of a pool.





Eighth grade class photo — blonde bangs, 

Slavic chin, glossed lips pursed to pout


over blue eddies of smeared thumbprints,

white dress wings draped on slight shoulders, 


a caricature of ingénue. 

All the boys in the gifted class brag,


use their IQs to describe in detail 

all they’ll do when they get you alone.


Alone in my room, just me and the two 

by three wallet of you, attempting


over and over, my hands desperate,

my efforts futile, your wide eyes


unblinking, as if desire is a puzzle

that can simply be hammered to fit


together with an audible click.

You are human before setpiece,


human after. One day in Algebra, 

we learn the transitive property,


where if all boys like you, and I am a boy—

but I am staring intently at the back


of the boy’s head in front of me, his hair 

in a single curl on the nape of his neck, 


how I want to twist my finger in it, 

how much I need to pay attention 


to this lesson, the one I will need 

every day for the rest of my life.



Penelope Superior   


Twenty years weaving and unweaving, men

howling at our bedchamber doors—the roots

of our tree-bed grow deep, and I remain

true. But what of you? Wise Odysseus,

lover of hog-witch and sea-bitch, for years

your shriveled ship has sailed between harbors,

now come home—bare chest spread out beneath me,

a heaving sea, my fingers tracing through.

The fastest way to a man’s heart? A loom

hook driven between the third and fourth rib.




Advice from Tall Blonde with Liver Spots


It’s lonely at the top—forsake everything. 

Sleep standing up, or don’t sleep at all. 

Remain silent—better a black tongue 

than silver. Stand tall—lord what you have 

over everyone. If you see something you want, 

take it. Drive your pointed heel through 

your rival’s neck. Piss into the wind— 

see where it lands. Stay quiet, even 

when others bray and howl. Let no one 

know you by the sound of your voice. 

Neck like a teenager when you like someone. 

Use those long dancer’s legs to your advantage. 

When there’s somewhere you need to be, 

hoof it. Wear leopard print, and lots of it. 

Never let them catch you sitting down.



Chad Frame's work appears in decomP, Rust+Moth, Menacing Hedge, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, and elsewhere. He earned his MFA from Arcadia University, and is the 2017 Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. What he lacks in female identity, he strives to make up for in advocacy and empowerment.

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