Idiolexicon: 11/16/2006


Annie Christain

Inside a Hand Basket in the Burlesque Theater

As you
may
already be aware,
the Burlesque Theater is upon us,
and the granite-encased monoliths of your muscular legs
drilled to the sides of the stage

are as tall
as you are
tall between them.

They are
your legs after all,
and Victorian women know it,
and advanced
syphilis knows it,
and the shining temples of the man rubbing pistachios
on        his        suspenders
know it’s impossible to avoid the thought of steam beer
and a cast-iron stove to read by
whenever they are easily distracted.
You have never been
more happier
to be
more astonished
that those are
your legs
and those are people too who
know your legs
more than two people of Moorish personages peopled through twin Moroccan peepholes.
Those               are                   your                 legs,
and all it took was a little foresight
to realize
you couldn’t stay in
an Extravaganza forever
where performers only act
as if they’re acting,
they only think
to use French obstetrical atlases for all kinds of padding,
and they only use their hands and eyes
to convey the limits of one’s scope
at arm’s length.

But you,
in your hand basket,
use your hands and eyes
as if you are signaling in the great conversion

from stage lights

to sun

to lizard skin

able to keep what it needs from its past
to independently use
all of itself

until the crowd feels this potential
of crests and spines as their own,

even in the dark.

You,
who are flanked by your
old legs
that all agree
are the only lines
you’ll ever need,
scream about marble statues
and how they should never come to life
because they’ll never enjoy it
unless they can have it
both
ways,

and your song is witchery
embroidered
in aurora bands of sequestered dusk
for this night only
and tomorrow too.

But the big difference is
there is a purpose,
three-fold,
peculiar,
salient,
the mesmeric pull of leg and leg and basket
commanding all,
seducing all,
until all comes together in grand separateness,

and no pantomime had to translate
how it felt the first time you
didn’t feel alone
outside yourself,

perfect and imperfect

the crowd clapping singly
with the drollest hearts
and limbs
of leg.


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