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Julie Demoff-Larson: Two Poems

Poetry

Julie Demoff-Larson is one of the founding editors and current Managing Editor at Blotterature Literary Magazine. She is the chief organizer and curator of “Small Prestivus,” a two-day annual literary festival aimed at promoting the diversity of small presses and the writers they represent. Julie has a B.A. in English Literature from Purdue University. Her dedication to the writing community is second only to family and friends. Her short stories have been published in Mangrove, Ricochet, Epiphany Magazine and in Good Morning, Justice an anthology from Brine Books Publishing, and This is Poetry Volume II: The Midwest Poets.

*****

Hospitality, pre-2005

Moving East on Highway 10
across lake waters
en route to New Orleans,
a white double-cab pick-up truck
offers us a ride
on an oppressive September afternoon.
At first look, the man is without flaw,
an American success story,
white father, Vietnamese mother
figuring we fit into his mold
as he speaks with growing misogyny
and nigger talk
that we feel compelled to dismiss
for fear of retaliation
or abandonment
on the road that connects
land-locked Mardi Gras wishes
to the rise of the surrounding muddy waters
in the whole of the city.
We are passengers—
              side-road highway travelers—
rooted in the South Chicago corridor,
blinded by the catacombs of white suburban squalor,
believing this deep Southern doctrine to be archaic,
when all along the trepidation between
the voice and the voiceless;
the affluent and the penniless;
the black and the white;
is but a poor veil
to what has always been
a part of us.
On the outskirts—
away from Hurricane
drinkers and
bead throwers—
we ride with the men and women
on the bus line
to dance on the street in Vieux Carré
outside Jolly Roger's,
while they make their way home from
late-night work shifts,
casinos and jazz clubs,
catering to tourists that look
like me—
last stop
everyone off,
a mile march along the banquette,
where rats and roaches
follow like protective pets.
Walking where no government cars pass;
no celebrities roam with carnival cameras.
It is here,
in the hole of the Crescent,
where we first learn about humanity.

***

Necessary Durability

I suppose the high wasted briefs—
Granny panties
and the boxed Playtex bras—
white thick strapped brassieres
shaping breasts like summit peaks,
tips of torpedoes—
kept hands from meandering
beneath turtlenecks and sweaters,
unlike the girls who wore tank tops and sundresses—
their thin satin straps showing,
nuzzling under lace and polyester blend,
those girls smelling of patchouli oil and sweat
just like my sister
stretched out on family living room floors
with boys they loved
with boys they devoured way too soon.
Top heavy and weighted down,
bras that were purchased for me
lifted and secured,
corrected posture to retain femininity
like the ladies who worked
the assembly line at the soap factory
coming home smelling of lard and lye
making seventy cents to his dollar—
maybe less,
god damn, they were
tough and durable
and able to get the job done.
 

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