Gorgeous George in Honolulu

When it stormed we wrestled
gargantuan leaves, winds that pummeled
up from the Pacific, thrashing skies
that pinned things under.

Even the immense tendons
of banyans grunted, knuckled.

On a night like this my father fought
the Pontiac home in a torrent, triumphant
after winning his bet—with two gold-plated
bobby pins, “Georgie pins” in his pocket,
a gift from Gorgeous George himself,
a strand of the famous bleached blond
hair still tangled in each of them.

Red Smith said “Groucho Marx is prettier.”
But, in his pink satin robe with sequined
epaulets, the Star Bulletin called him
“a hunk of peroxided beefcake.”

His antics irked the crowds: A show-off
with curly ringlets. A muscle-man with a prayer
rug and valet. A chunky Apollo who misted perfumed
antiseptic into the ring before a match, “to remove
all germs, sweat and other obnoxious remnants.”

I remember the photo of George
at the beauty parlor, all wired up
into a permanent wave machine:

He looked like a golden tree of life
with electric branches.

Susan Kelly-DeWitt | Mudlark No. 33
Contents | Ms. Sisyphus