Poetry by Terry Savoie

Taking in a Strip Show at the Jones County, Iowa Fair (1966)

What wasn’t already frittered away on the Tilt-a-Whirl, cotton candy
or that freak show its double-jointed Frog Lady, slipped through my
fingers in a last-ditch bid to rid myself of all I had left in my pocket at
the last row tent butted up against an enterprising farmer’s barbed
wired bean field: 21 & older, $1. Inside, I squeezed in alongside two
horny, high school boys squirming & antsy on rough pine board
bleachers, raining down hoots ‘n’ cat-calls on the main attraction
gyrating for the crowd down in the pit. That sweet thing had only
now just begun her improbable bump & grind to the beat coming from
the vinyl 78 that spun & scratched away on the portable record player
sitting near her with the Beatles wailing for all they were worth, I
wanna hold your ha-a-a-and. The girl’s all done up in what looks to be
a mail-order black bra & lace panties, nothing more, but so skinny she
is that she may well be playing Pretend, appraising herself in Mother’s
full-length mirror back home as she precariously balances on a pair of
red stiletto heels that seem specifically designed to drive themselves
deep into any farm boy’s foolish & tender heart. The locals call out for
more & more which rouses two off-duty state troopers up to rustle
out all the womenfolk along with any man who isn’t man enough to
ante up the couple extra bucks for that sweet thing’s real show. The
bleachers thin some, then, nonchalantly, she shucks off all the
unmentionables before settling down on a black satin pillow, yawning,
& giving us a brief glimpse of everything imaginable only to be
abruptly interrupted by some boy’s impatient girlfriend who pokes
her head under the canvas to break our spell, yelling out, “Damn ya’ll,
Frankie, let’s get on to home already! That skinny-ass girl ain’t got
nothin’ I ain’t already showed ya’, & that there’s God’s own truth!”


About Terry Savoie

Nearly three hundred of Terry Savoie’s poems have been published in literary journals, anthologies, and small press publications.  These include Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Black Warrior Review, Seems, Tar River, and The North American Review, as well as recent or forthcoming issues of Great River Review, Rock & Sling, Cutthroat, Cider Press Review, Spillway, CommonwealAmerica, and the anthology What Matters.