Monday, January 18, 2016

Fire Sale

By Lisabet Sarai

(July, 1975)

bargain basement baby--
don't you know that's me?
special sale, easy terms--
            a couple of arms
instant credit--
            ready lips
all you need (I need...)
        so cheap
               I'd like
               to sell
a sidewalk hawker:
almost any
lie will buy
an hour's ease -

no money down,
prices slashed--
all I ask
is skin on skin,
and someone else's
breathing in
my aching ears
and someone else's
mouth on mine,
and someone else's
pleasured moan,
coming home --
          and knotted rest,
          head on my breast.
just one centered second's sense
of swallowing all other sparks
that light his mind.

fire sale--
some superficial sympathy
plus wanting me
will quite suffice
slightly sullied merchandise,
still a buy--
        I'm drastically
        and desperately


  1. this is great, Lisabet. so much fun. lots of sound play. well done.

    1. Thank you, Amanda. I don't actually remember what events triggered this poem. But I suspect there was a healthy dose of young angst involved!

  2. What a great flow to this, Lisabet. Kinda has a hip-hop/rap rhythm. Genius before its time, grrrl.

    1. I wrote these poems only for myself. They just poured out in those days.

  3. Yes, nice rhythm to the words. Read aloud, it does sound like it should be to music. Ah, young angst...different from older angst, but just as achingly real. I love the way your poem captures that feeling so well. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Funny, most of the angst is long gone. And the poetry went with it.

  4. Did poetry slams exist back then? I don't remember, but this would have been sensational (in multiple ways) in the ones I knew in the early 2000s.

    1. I would never have considered reading my poems aloud. They were quite private.

  5. I think poetry slams did exist in the early 2000s (I was asked to serve as a judge of one -- can't remember the year, but it was a long time ago). Yes, this poem looks like a performance piece, and it's full of young, bittersweet energy. I remember the early 1970s, when 2nd Wave feminism was new, and when some of us really thought the time would come when women could own their sexual appetites without shame. The persistence of a sexual double standard seems to me like the continued persecution of "witches" and "heretics" by a hysterical establishment.

    1. I'm not sure this poem is about sexual double standards. Thinking back, this was during a period when I was just recovering from being anorexic, and discovering that men were interested in having sex with me. And somehow, I wasn't very good at saying no. I mean, I was exploring, trying them out, trying to figure out what it meant to be a sexually active woman. Birth control pills meant I wasn't at too much risk. And even the most ephemeral encounters had a sort of bittersweet excitement to them.

  6. You wrote this poem when you were very young? You had a good ear, especially that last stanza. I don't think I've read any of your poems before. I enjoyed this one.


    1. Of course you've read my poems, Garce. For example:

      this blog post

      But I started writing poetry when I was seven. Don't ask me how I knew what I was doing--I just did it.

      Actually, it probably had something to do with the fact that my parents read me poems, and that my dad wrote songs for us kids.