Poem: The Old Poet Speaks of Strip Tease


Plate with cigarettes stubs

The Old Poet Speaks of Strip Tease

The old poet pulls on a shirt that is too short.
His belly peeks out as he clears off a plate in the pile.
A cigarette dangles from his mouth.
You here this week’s coed in the back bedroom, rustling,

The bottle is empty.
You can see the remains of the bourbon
in bright red lines across the whites of his eyes.
He is smiling. He is almost always smiling.

I think my youth amuses him.

“Poetry is a striptease.” he tells me.
“You take off a bit at a time, leaving them wanting more.
That’s why I write of myself.
All else is innuendo and as salacious as innuendo can be,
in the end, you are naked and they know what you are,
old, fat and debauched, or whatever truth you hide under your clothes.

The coed comes down the hall as he flicks ashes
on the newly half cleaned plate.
“And now,” he says. “It is time for you to go”

About this poem.

Part of a series of poems about my first poetic mentor, Robert Hazel, a delightfully debauched poor role model, unless you were a 20 year old just learning your craft. There’s a book lingering in my relationship with him, but it will have to wait for the next two.

The image is not one of mine. It is legal, stock photography. I don’t seem to have any cigarette pictures in my collection.


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