Whores For Poetry
This poem documents a place -Times Square-that doesn't exist any more.

Whores for Poetry

Mothers, please, don't let your daughters grow up to be poets
They'll leave you too soon
Sloe-eyed showgirls with no visible means of support
Minnesota blondes mounting Pegasus naked from rhinestone platforms
Seekers of Juno and Iceberg Slim in rusty peep show windows
Waiting for the muse
Charismatic as saints
Whores for poetry

There is no one left to read the words
They flicker through Times Square caverns
Like the forty-eighth street burlesque
where the great Chantal often headlined
She of the long lavender peignoir and the junkie somnambulance
Found ungracefully dead at thirty-two in the St James Hotel
A poet's life, a poet's death
All Broadway paved in bugle beads that sick sad morning
Shimmering just out of sight like this curse of words.

Sleeping Venus, when I pass the spot even now
I remember african drums and Beauty's ashes
Floor work sonnets to scratchy records
Dressing-room elegies brief as haiku
O Candi, Pilar, Natasha and Narcissus
The Bard in all his queeny radiance had nothing on you
Seekers of light
Go-go dancers for truth
Whores for poetry

Chi Chi Valenti,1993