Poems and Texts

One page from “Two Augusts In a Row In a Row” by Shelley Marlow

One page from Two Augusts In a Row In a Row

As she sleeps, she dreams; her furry throat swallows dream food, possibly a mouse.

My boss is having an affair tonight, a dinner with a mix of religious leaders, mountain men with banjos, writers, and artists. And me. After my shower, I slick my hair up with pomade and cut a part to one side, then comb the front length to a point over my left eye and roll deodorant in my hairy pits. Next, I tightly wrap an ace bandage around my breasts until my chest is flat and I can still breathe. Then I brush, floss, and rinse my teeth. My suit hangs in the closet, away from the cat hair. I put on my silver silk shirt and a thin silver tie that is finely embroidered with an oak tree trunk and small yellow woodpecker beaks, all amazing finds downstairs at Beacon’s Closet. A tie appears in my dream and I go downstairs and find this one, elegant but punk rock. My suit jacket goes on last.
I arrive at my boss’ midtown penthouse apartment and, before greeting anyone, I strut along the walls from painting to painting. I hide inside the Italian painter’s pine yellow and peridot green light paintings of lanky handsome teens and young children. Some might consider these acid colors lurid, whereas I luxuriate and rest in the brush marks, good enough to inhale. I still don’t want to see my boss and instead glance along the bookshelves and large glass doors that lead to a wraparound terrace decorated with pansies and blue rhododendron. I get brave enough to look around at the people and see that my boss has already sunk into his favorite couch, which is lushly comfortable while maintaining flat, low, modernist lines. He’s thrown parties here since the early 1960s. I give him a big grin. He smiles slowly, finally recognizing me in complete male drag, breasts bound; a softy hangs in my undies.

One page from Two Augusts In a Row In a Row by Shelley Marlow
(Publication Studio, Portland, 2015)

Photo: Martha Keith, 2010

Shelley Marlow

Shelley Marlow is the author of a novel, Two Augusts In a Row In a Row (Publication Studio Portland 2015) and the art edition of Two Augusts In a Row In a Row with drawings and paintings by Marlow (Publication Studio Hudson 2017). Marlow was awarded an Acker Award for avant garde excellence in writing in 2017.

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