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.
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.