Lunch in the Ivory Tower by Betsy Mars (MY FIRST JOB Poetry and Prose Series)

Thank you to Silver Birch for another inspiring prompt and for publishing my poem.

Silver Birch Press

MarsJobLunch In the Ivory Tower
by Betsy Mars

Racing in between classes
we waited, prim primrose uniforms,
soiled aprons, leaky pens in pocket.
Checking our stations with fingers crossed.
Kowtowing to the power-hungry manager
who assigned them, knowing he held our fate
in his perfidious palms. Ass-kissing: first lesson.

Serving, invisibly, the uncivil engineers,
the antisocial workers, the hyper-political scientists,
we jostled in the kitchen before the wheel of fortune
which held the ticket to our tips —
begging Gil, the grizzled Cajun,
as he slowly stirred
the pot of gumbo, dropping ashes
and ignoring our pleas — currying favor
with busboys, supporters in the cause. Second lesson.

Mixed-up orders, kitchen crookery,
we were all complicit, all forgiving in the rush
to get our esteemed professors
their daily bread — liver and onions,
Monte Cristo sandwiches, glasses of wine
or endless refills of coffee. Insatiable:
further education.

Nobel prize winners or underachievers…

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I killed him with love: Ode to a mouse

My latest publication – tribute to Davy, my best and worst loved mouse.

Cadence Collective: Long Beach Poets

By Fernando Gallegos By Fernando Gallegos

By Betsy Mars

I socked him away,
safe from escape,
with warmth
to the touch and softness –
smelling of mouse
pellets and hay.

Like a lucky rabbit foot
to stroke in the night
when demons came
calling for me, he comforted,
but I slept right through
to the mourning ­
He was cold
and hard to the touch.

In my guilt, I emptied
the sock and left him
rigid in the cage,
To be discovered
and buried,
along with my memory
of inadvertent, mindless murder.

At eight years old,
I learned that love could be lethal.

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Mexican Hat Dance, poem by Betsy Mars (ME, IN A HAT Poetry and Prose Series)

My latest on Silver Birch Press.

Silver Birch Press

marsmexMexican Hat Dance
by Betsy Mars

Golden, capped in the strong sunshine
against my father’s shoulder I stood tall,
and between my parents I felt alive

in this land so distinct and familiar.
The air was redolent with chocolate and spice,
electrical with lightning storms and surging hormones.

Taking the leap, cliff divers descended
in sheer drops for my entertainment
as I ate up the scenery and the sensation of being weightless.

My hat perched at a jaunty angle,
confident in a way I never felt
at home in a strange land.

Between pulpy bulls and bleeding fruit
proffered from vendors at the beach, I felt
like Hemingway discovering his muse —

but much less courageous,
cowering at night in the hotel room,
thunderstruck and hatless.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me in Mexico at age 13. This is one of very few photos that exist of me in a hat. Hats…

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Sillage, poem by Betsy Mars (MY PRIZED POSSESSION Poetry and Prose Series)

My most recent poetic publication, which I’m honored to have on Silver Birch Press.

Silver Birch Press

guerlainSillage
by Betsy Mars

I dream of genie, on a trail of vapors
you come, as I crack open the cracked box —
I slip through a scented wormhole of space
and time to the heart of the matter.

In another dimension, I follow close behind
on the essence of you — the base notes
left in the bottle.
My conscious mind amnesiac,
but my primitive nose remembers.
Scent remains unperturbed.
A complex perfume, imported,
outlasting you and your body —
French, at your service, no memorial
except your legacy of language and luxury.

The box sits on the shelf, idle, until I need you;
and then, with one whiff I follow,
transported to a splintered realm —
wholly, holey, Holy.
Shadowed and strung with trip wires:
nurture and neglect, ice and fire.
Memories dissipate like a genie
after three wishes are spent.

My first and only wish would be…

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