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Ditching Mary Jo

by Heather Cumbo 6 months ago in performance poetry
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A poem based on a true story

This is the song that I heard on a lonely street in Iowa City

Mary Jo likes young men.

This time she brought me along.

I watch her as buff young bodies buy her

dirty named drinks

such as Blow Jobs.

I sip vodka and tonic,

a plain-looking liquid.

Young men don't like me

because they can't touch.

I don't like them;

they're too stupid.

I'm already drunk.

Bathroom's too crowded.

The room is pounding

and smells of sweat.

I feel so small.

I have to get out.

I have ditched Mary Jo.

Why am I

in a college town?

I'm too old

and past that stage.

I begin to walk

the street lined with bars:

Irish, sports, gay, country, gothic.

All busy, all loud.

I turn the corner.

This street's quiet;

business district.

Everything's closed.

Except one place.

Jazz notes tease.

I draw near.

"Mood Indigo."

Soft white light


the club's name:

The Siren

The decor is red.

Tastefully done.

The bartender:

Blonde, Mae West-like,

relaxed, confident, smiling.

Very attractive.

What can I get you?


Had a long night?

Yeah. Have regular customers?


Theatre people?

Theatre, art, music. You know the type.

I smile at her.

She smiles back,

then leaves me with my coffee

My face is hot.

The coffee is strong.

The music is wonderful.

I cry softly into my napkin

(don't know why),

leave a dollar tip

for two dollar coffee,

then leave to find Mary Jo.

performance poetry

About the author

Heather Cumbo


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