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KGB Reading Series

The Greatest Porn Star in American Poetry

More Martini

         It could happen only in New York. I had planned this headline in a shameless attempt to increase our online traffic. It would catch the reader's eye and then I could talk all I wanted about T. S. Eliot and how remarkably erotic, in fact downright bestial, is the stanza in "Prufrock" that begins, "The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes, / The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes, / Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening."CalvinKleinBilboard-1

    What I hadn''t counted on was reality's ability to outstrip the far reaches of fantasy or fiction.

One Monday evening at KGB Bar, back when Star Black and I were hosting the series, I met her. the greatest porn star in American poetry, The reading had ended, but I was still making merry with friends when a stunningly beautiful blonde woman approached and asked if she could buy me a martini. "Sure," I said. "Did you like the reading?"

She ordered two Tanqueray martinis, one for her, one for me,and told me she was a fan not only of  the series but of my own poetry and "the work [I] do for American poetry."

That's very nice to hear, I said. Our drinks came, mine with a twist, hers with olives. "Well, here's to poetry!" We sipped. Then she uttered the dread words: "I know you're very busy but I write poetry myself and I wonder if you would read it." And she took out a manuscript and made ready to hand it to me.
Great Porn Star

I was preparing an excuse to decline the handsome offer but something about her striking appearance made me pause. I don't think I have properly conveyed just how beautiful this young woman was. This was becoming clearer with each sip, each smile of hers, each glance into her dazzling green eyes with just the right amount of mascara on the lashes, and a perfect use of the pencil on the eyebrows. She used a subtle shade of pink lipstick. A waterfall of blonde hair cascaded down her neck and down both sides of her head. She wore three inch heels that brought her up to 5'9, a most impressive height and yet not intimidatingly tall for a six footer like me who used to play tennis and other sports for the army team that competed against the other services.

And then, too, there was the awesome fact that she was topless. 

I took a look at the cover page. "The Silver Cup" by Eva Pink. Unusual name. Turning the page I saw that the table of contents included a poem called "Pussy and Pentameter."

"Yes," she said. "It's a prose poem." I took the manuscript. It was too late to back out now. Bu I'm glad I took it with me. The poems turned out to be as varied and compelling lot as i might have wished. There were poems in esoteric forms like the triolet. There was a poem entirely in dialogue between a man and a woman in bed after having sex. And there absolute provocations, for example a poem in which various female lubricants currently on the market are evaluated.

Eva Pink ordered a second round of drinks. She loved poetry, and the professional work she did was meant to pay the bills and leave something extra so she could write poems. What work did she do? She was a professional model. Had I seen the notorious billboard on Houston Street in which a woman bites a man on the ass? "It was to sell pants. I can't remember now who the designer was but it was definitely a designer label. Anyway, I was the girl in that poster." Dry-martini-ck-1041872-l

Do you often go topless?

Only when I'm feeling hot, she said.

And how are you feeling at present?

Like I wish you would talk to me about T. S. Eliot.

So I told her about that overlooked stanza in "Prufrock." I said we're lucky Eliot was so fastidious or so inhibited or both, because he has the psychological profile of an ax murderer. Now tell me more about your professional life.

To hear is to obey, she said, like a character in the Arabian Nights.

I have been, she said, a concubine. And as such I am uniquely qualified to read "The Iliad," which is all about what happens when one man steals another man's concubine in the middle of fighting the Trojan War. She had a not insignificant part in the porn classic, "Trojan Triumph," which was said to be the first movie in which the actress gets a facial on camera.

So I took her poems home with me. In future weeks I expect to share some.

-- DL


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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly

Radio

I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark


from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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