December 15, 2014

Michael Meyerhofer

ON MY FIRST TRIP TO A STRIP CLUB

You’d better jack off first
one of my friends advised the night
before my eighteenth birthday,
the group planning
to drive me up to Davenport
where the treatment for birthday boys
was a lap dance on stage
while their friends cheered—
the implication being it wouldn’t do
to get too excited over
the proximity of all those fake breasts
and press-on nails, bad hip-hop
twisting out of the speakers,
the regulars using this as an excuse
to step out back for a smoke.
I remember the lead dancer had
a gap between her teeth
and no one raised their eyebrows
when they smiled. Later,
a brunette with roots like fools’ gold
talked me out of fifty bucks
in a back room where I made
too much eye contact while she opened
like a desert highway. I remember
thinking how all of this seemed
a little related to the rape
reenactments they showed us
in Health Class, Susie and Brian
struggling in some cardboard room
full of bottles with the labels turned away,
interrupted only by a narrator
as far removed as that
announcer from The Twilight Zone
who breezed in with his gray jacket and tie
and told us what we’d just seen
and what to think and how to feel.

from Rattle #44, Summer 2014

[download audio]

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Michael Meyerhofer: “There’s a passage in J.D. Salinger’s Seymour: An Introduction that describes writing as religion. That was probably the truest thing I’ve ever read, even twenty-odd years later. Sometimes, writing is a monastery on a hill, surrounded by dogwoods; more often, though, it’s a bottom-of-the-valley shack full of snakes and loud music.” (website)

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