“Self-Portrait as Lines Taken from the Autobiography of Tallulah Bankhead,” by Robin Ekiss


Self-Portrait as Lines Taken from the Autobiography of Tallulah Bankhead

I started out as a bogus Pocahontas
   in British Columbia,
wound up a ballerina in Paris,
   doing a duet with the perpendicular pronoun.
Never a bridesmaid, always a bride—
   always Jekyll, never Hyde.
Ill-begotten daughter of Medusa
   and the Marquis de Sade:
my voice has been likened
   to the mating call of the caribou.
Charged with double daiquiris,
   I’ve churned with the conviction
I can do the Indian rope trick.
   Who cares if a politician, policeman,
or actor comes to work late?
   A poet is a slave to the clock.
Searing my larynx, or sipping champagne
   from a slipper, I’ve milked that
wooly mammoth, and christened
   an electric rabbit with a jeroboam,
but never rode in a patrol wagon.
   Despite what you’ve heard
to the contrary:
   Cleopatra was a blonde.

Robin Ekiss


Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →