microphone and podium

Summer 2007, Volume 3

Poetry by Shannon Phillips

Blue-Collar Woman

Pays $30 an ounce for a cream that will
conceal her surgical scars.

Makes sure she gets a pedicure once a week
because one of her regulars has a foot fetish.

Puts up with the pain of waxing every three weeks
so her skin feels like satin when men accidentally grope her.

Buys extra thigh-highs from the Victoria’s Secret Sale
to wear on days when her knees are all ripped up from crawling on stage.

Carefully cuts the tags off of every piece of lingerie
because she knows how silly an exposed tag would make her look.

Knows that if she trips in those shoes, to simply let herself fall
because if she tries to prevent it, she’ll sprain an ankle.

Scans the stage for lethal patches of baby oil that
the last dancer left behind after slathering her body.

Carries anti-bacterial hand gel in her little purse along with her tips
to get that brassy pole smell off of her skin.

Establishes a code with the waitress
so that the men who buy her drinks don’t know they’re virgins.

Laughs every time a customer asks if there’s a big vat of perfume in the back
that they dip each dancer in before she comes out on the floor.

Tosses away the wad of napkins bearing useless phone numbers
that have accumulated throughout her shift.

Snaps a rubber-band around the ever thickening stack of
business cards she keeps in her glove compartment.

Neatly separates each costume into its own Ziploc bag
so that everything is easy to locate.

Exchanges all her small bills for larger ones at the bar
but makes sure her asshole manager’s ten percent is all in dollars.


You’re gone for the day.
Left me with the cat.

Fur coats her rubber-band body,
reptile throat, symmetrical
wishbone of a chin.

I try to get up,
get ready for work.
She claws my arm to show me she means business.

Or maybe she’s showing me
how to keep you in bed
a little longer.


Drivers who edge into red lights
suffer from premature ejaculation.

Drivers who talk on their cell phones
contemplate their To-Do list during sex.
They’ve already crossed you off.

Drivers who drift towards a red light
make you wait until you’re throbbing on your knees
before they’ll put out.

Drivers who ride your bumper
obsess and obsess about anal sex.

Drivers who zip in and out of lanes during near-gridlock
never call you again.

Drivers who hit-and-run may have an
STD they don’t tell you about.

Drivers who enjoy four-wheeling
leave marks on your body so you can’t
make love with anyone else.

Drivers who don’t use their turn signal
fake orgasms and bitch behind your back
that you’re lousy in bed.

Drivers who change lanes for no apparent reason
switch spots during oral sex
right when you’re about to come.

Drivers who pull out in front of you while you’re sailing along
make excellent third-wheels on dates.

Drivers who cut you off don’t
care if you get yours.

Drivers who blow the red arrow
By attaching themselves to the string of cars in the left-turn lane
don’t mind sloppy seconds,

or even thirds or fourths.

BIO:  Shannon grew up in Southern California and is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at California State University Long Beach.

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