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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