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Apr 2018
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 29, 2018)

What you didn’t know was a lot.
They were essentially pixelated
and mostly human offstage.

What you saw were fictions
of the staged and costumed,
all the misleading mise en scene.

But there were clues,
the power of a photograph
and a deadpan stare.

The New Englander in slacks
no matter how goodly-wife she tried to be,
Hepburn always came out.

And the shaky-voiced cattail of Mary Richards
who once haunted my ideas of Marys.
But I came to accept her capable

punctualities and small courage.
So different from the vamp trails
of Cher and her roster of femme fatales

who never once succumbed
to a story. Or Bette Davis on a staircase
a tank of eye-rolling.

They were no sleuthing Nancy Drews,
none of them, no high-voiced cream puffs,
their sighs were full of gravel,

their silhouettes a poignant defiance
of No, I don’t think sos.
and So what if I dos.

They were living shedoneits,
the new swashbucklers,
arch, caped rapscallions

who could part the Red Sea
in a dress, sequins flaring
bullets at the lenses.

Years later, Ru Paul explicates this
on a show he calls Drag U,
how dress-up can make you feel brave,

how you could fight fires and dragons
with a dose of ***** and, in a pickle,
Walter Mitty-it and presume.
These poems for NaPoWriMo were inspired by a poem I did years ago for my friend Michele after hearing she passed away, 30 poems for inspiring women connected to me. The title now says "33 Women" because the poem to Michele poem had already been written as well as two prologues I posted March 31.
Mary McCray
Written by
Mary McCray
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