“Riding the B-Line” by Maria Guzman

Maria Guzman


I remember the small yield of Marcuses
cases and cases of the same
men we picked those ripe winters
in front of the barbershop, the mall, the internet,
anywhere, they were particularly vulnerable.

Back when we were virgins
drunk off Carlo Rossi sangrias
we’d say, I’ll take a Marcus with that.
We could mean a baby or a dog
or some other sobering charm
like one Marcus who sold mixtapes
out of an electric blue Honda Civic
and ciphers out of a heart-shaped jacuzzi
that never amounted to any gold
except a long line of tired baby mommas
who never did like us after the baby shower.

How we showed up,
for the men they loved,
young and outlined in spandex
dangling silicone pacifiers
stuffed in glitter pink tissue.
How we could never be just one of the guys.

Because we were down for whatever
they’d invite us to telly parties at the Super 8.
So we’d go and never have sex.
Because we knew and they knew we knew
no good can come from motel lighting.
Not a baby, not a dog, not even a Marcus.

from Rattle #69, Fall 2020
Tribute to Service Workers


Maria Guzman: “Over the past fifteen years, I’ve worked in the service industry as a receptionist, barista, spa attendant, restaurant hostess, and retail clerk. These jobs have taught me so much about the idea of shame, pride, and identity, and how all work is essential. As the daughter of immigrant parents, the idea of respecting workers is deeply engrained in my ethos and absolutely bleeds into my poetry.” (web)

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