"When I make money from a photograph, I immediately assume it’s not as good a photograph."–Diane Arbus (quoted by Patricia Bosworth in her Diane Arbus, p. 198)
From West Virginia hollow
to the Block off Baltimore Street,
with black hair, black eyes,
she’s got her own Two O’Clock Club,
done now with Bourbon Street's Sho-Bar
and Louisiana governor Long.
Blaze Starr in Nighttown, 1964.
What would James Joyce say?
That little woman’s big camera.
Fannie Belle shines a tit
covered over for Esquire.
Wearing Earl’s fur coat: part
of her act. Left hand perched,
thumb down cradling her bare hip,
right arm behind her hair,
naked save for sequined pasties
and rhinestone panties.
At home she strikes a pose
on her living room rug,
its design a furious thatch
of leaves, manicured white poodle
between her and the Buddha,
in her white-sweatered breasts
and skintight pants
with high-heel toeless pumps,
her right hand’s arm still back
of that head of hair,
her left hand poised, placed
between hip and thigh,
forefinger pointing up, beatified.
If only you could hear the beat
she struts to, barely a stitch on–
Fannie Belle Fleming
from Newground Hollow,
Twelve Pole Creek–who’s now
Nighttown girl come home
wild as ever, yet with her self-
respect intact, saying, Mama,
I told you I’d make you proud.
(30 October 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander