Written by 12:49 am Editor's Picks, Poetry

Memoirs of a Midwesterner

By Elgin Tolliver /

I came to in a strange hotel, fresh off a tryst with
Madame de Pompadour.
King Louis didn’t like it, but the gods
smoothed it over with Rita Hayworth.

Then it clicked I liked Rita even more.
Louis got de Pompadour, after all.

Rita won me over with
joie de vivre.
We needed money for a villa near
Hadrian’s hangout.
We opened a bookstore, curated manuscripts,
a coveted codex.

Women trusted my judgement RE
sexual passages.
Carte blanche from my heroics with

Cleopatra.

I’d nearly died pulling her out of a great fire.

She hired a PR firm to get the word out, but
dudes came to resent my fortune and fame.
Started a whispering campaign I’d
conspired with Hitler.

Rita decamped with Mastroianni.

Meanwhile, I caught syphilis from a woman who’d
caught it from Maupassant.

I returned to the strange hotel

offered libations

and went to the canteen for biscuits and gravy. 

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