Scoundrel Time

Three Poems By Jill McDonough

The Serious Downer

I tell Josey when she dies I am going to eat her face
before I call the cops. They’ll be on their way

to pick up her dead body and I won’t be able to stop, finally able
to bite adorable chunks of her perfect cheeks, gnaw on the regal

cleft of that much beloved chin. I am always already hot
to chew on Josey somehow: the side of her hand, the part

you press to frosted or fogged-up glass to make a little
baby’s foot; one rough knuckle plucked up in the middle

of the day at a red light, her cool dry hand on the stick.
I tell her the EMTs for the dead, the morgue guys, will walk

in on me, her blood by now darkening and crusting
all over my mouth, me looking up like dag, busted,

mouth agape and also full of one last bite of her unchewed body.
But it’ll be so sad; you won’t be there to think it’s funny,

I say. That would be the drag, adds Josey, nodding, complacent.
That would be the serious downer of that situation.



The TSA and My Buttock Anomaly

Okay so there was a TSA butch older trainer lady and a nervous younger cis-gender lady trainee. Already I thought this was hilarious. But when I came through the arms-up circle scan, they looked at each other and pulled me aside. The butch one pointed to the scan and said See?  She has a buttock anomaly. The straight trainee is horrified. Me, though? I’m delighted. Wait, I have a buttock anomaly?! I ask, cheerfully. I’ve never been happier. I’m peaking, right now.

They confer, determine I should STFU and listen. The trainer is going to train the trainee on how to pat me down. What she should say, which parts of me need patting. The trainer tells a story about a lady who thought anomaly was a diagnosis. Like, the x-ray machine was some Obama-care update and she just heard she had cancer. It took a long time to calm her down.

You wear pants under your dress, the trainer accuses. It’s true. There are pants under my dress. She walks the trainee through patting me down while I pull my dress up so she can pat my ass. It’s okay though because pants.

The trainee points to my hair so I take my hair down while she barks YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE IT ALL THE WAY DOWN. Okay. There isn’t really half-way with my hair, though. So, too late, but that’s cool.

Trainee and I think we are done, but Trainer says, Whenever you have a buttock anomaly, you need to pat down the thighs. So Trainee went for it. Without clarifying whether her palms or backs of her hands were the deal here. She just ran her palms up my thighs, getting right up there into my vulva, up till she ran out of thigh, jiggling a little, just to make sure.



A Cincinnati Stripper Bar

When we hear Cleveland’s Caravaggio’s
being cleaned we make plans for Cincinnati,
call a Cincinnati stripper bar a consolation
prize. I ask my students So why’s a Cincinnati
stripper bar better than a Dayton stripper bar?
and they answer correctly: sibilance, assonance,
the extra foot. We buy notebooks and postcards
at the Cleveland Art Museum shop, eat at tableclothed
tables with ice water and heavy silver, drink wine.
Sour cream potato chips at an Ohio rest stop,
retirees on busses, Corvetted couples, the
eloquent buffet the hotel promises at breakfast
so we can get the hell on the road. We pass
Kent State, a place, a thing that happened two years
to the day before I was born. The Cleveland Art
Museum’s treasures: Stag at Sharkey’s, a Persian tent.
The lady concierge of our fancy hotel says the only one
around is in Kentucky, says it’s small, sad,
and stretch marky. So, you know, no thanks. I like
my strippers unionized, glad to be there, earning
a share of the take. We remember how sad we were
to learn Platinum Plus in South Portland’s not for happy,
ample-bodied blondes. So we skip the Cincinnati
stripper bar, go out for steak, for sundaes, strip down to swim
in an overchlorinated pool, sleep in a Cincinnati bed.





Image By: