Three Prose Poems by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Sunday, November 8, 2020

The newly completed bridge that spans the first half of the trip from Long Beach to San Pedro may not inspire anyone to write a poem as memorable as Hart Crane’s “To Brooklyn Bridge,” but it certainly is a relief to be able to drive to the Loft studio without being subjected to the alternate route that ran in a zig-zag parallel fashion the past several years. Alexis Rhone Fancher recently made a trip across the bridge and used her vantage point as a passenger to take the above picture, which she shared with Linda and me the other evening.

In honor of a rare chance for Linda and me to spend some socially distanced time with two dear friends, I am reprinting three prose poems by Alexis Rhone Fancher.

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Midnight In The Backyard of Lust and Longing

The sapphists are at it again. Screw you’s! ricochet off our common walls, invectives landmine my window. You cheating bitch! Like clockwork, this drunken Friday night climax to their ceaseless lovers’ quarrel. I’ll kill you! I hear the big one growl. And then the smashed plates, the screams. By the time the cops arrive it’s a full-out brawl, the two women spilling from their back door, tussling across the no man’s land between their tiny backyard and mine. Worse than animals. This time it’s Holly, the younger one, dragged to the patrol car, yellow hair wilding, small hands cuffed behind her back, kicking at the cops in those Daisy Dukes, an army jacket waifing her silhouette. More clothes than she had on the last time the cops rolled up. Or the time before. It’s almost dawn, and the trees shiver in the fog, raccoons slink through the tall grass. Marie, Holly’s better half, paces the yard in a blue bathrobe and slippers, smoking a cigarette, sobbing as the cops jam her lover into their car. Watch her head! she cries, and flings herself across the yard, lunges for Holly through the glass. Baby! Baby! she sobs, the reason for their discord forgotten. Holly mouths a sloppy kiss. Marie opens her robe, presses herself against the glass. Can you believe it? I would give anything to be loved like that.

©Alexis Rhone Fancher. First published in Slipstream Summer 2019

Don’t Wash

“I’m returning in three days. Don’t wash.”*

I touch myself so I can savvy what you rut in. Bring my fingers to my mouth, imagine you in our bed, returned from the three-day fray, redolent of the weight of the world, and me, your dirty, dirty girl, naked, eager, as you make your way down, breathing in my hair, my lips, the sweet spot where neck meets collarbone. I’ve made a religion of your fantasies, a science of what you desire. That ferine moan, my always startled gasp at first thrust. I angle, cocked hips, a bit askew. How I arch for maximum penetration, hands pushing against your chest, while my thighs pull you in. Our bed is a rocket launch, a bacchanal, a pelican’s steep dive into the sea. I revel in that you revel in me. A lifetime away from Michael, my first love, that long ago when I’d used the freshening wipe before I arrived, so as not to offend. I’d spread myself wide on his bed, confident, watching the top of his head (black curls) as he explored me — that fear of not being Summer’s Eve™ fresh, worried my pussy might disenchant, the musk of me — all wiped away. He raised his head. Next time, Michael said, once he’d tasted me. Don’t wash.

*From a love letter Napoleon sent to Josephine

©Alexis Rhone Fancher. Published in SWWIM, Summer, 2020

Power Play

When my lover tells me I cannot say no, and I protest, she parts my legs, says yes, baby. Yes. I do what I’m told. No becomes a foreign country. I take it as permission. Open season. So when the waiter asks if there’ll be anything else, I peruse his menu. I’m stuffed, but I say yes, cram my mouth with macaroons and chocolate. And when the Lyft driver seduces me in the rear-view, eyes me like prey, asks, May I kiss you? I say yes. And when the long-legged woman I’ve long lusted after at the gym wonders aloud if I’m single, asks me to dinner and a movie, I say yes. And when she invites me into her bed, what can I say but yes, yes, yes? And when my fan in Nova Scotia begs me to be his muse, to sanction an explicit ode to my breasts, my ankles, my lower lip, a poem he’d never show his wife, I cannot say no to his lust and delusion. Now he wants to climb me, sublime me, shoot me full of stars. Is this what you want, too? he writes, and I answer yes. And when I return to my lover at last and she sinks into the heady dampness between my thighs, looks up at me and asks, Have you been faithful? I say, Yes.

©Alexis Rhone Fancher. Published in Harbor Review, 2020, nominated for Best of the Net, 2020.

(POEMS REPRINTED BY PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR.)

ALEXIS RHONE FANCHER is published in Best American Poetry, Rattle, Poetry East, Hobart, VerseDaily, American Journal of Poetry, Duende, SWWIM, Plume, Diode, Pedestal Magazine, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles, and elsewhere. She’s authored five published poetry collections, most recently, Junkie Wife (Moon Tide Press, 2018), and The Dead Kid Poems (KYSO Flash Press, 2019). EROTIC: New & Selected, from New York Quarterly, and another full-length collection (in Italian) by Edizioni Ensemble, Italia, will both be published in early 2021. Her photographs are published worldwide, including River Styx, and the covers of Pithead Chapel, Heyday and Witness. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. www.alexisrhonefancher.com

Here’s a link for all but one of her books on Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books?keywords=alexis+rhone+fancher

Her books can also be found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Alexis+rhone+fancher&ref=nb_sb_noss

Self-Portrait by Alexis Rhone Fancher, (c) 2019.