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Free Verse: Gary Fincke

River Styx

Richard Newman of River Styx brings his poetic touch to St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon. He regularly selects a poem to appear on this site. It's a free glimpse into the vibrant poetry life in this area. Today: Gary Fincke | “The Drive-Thru Strip Club”

Here’s a slice of contemporary American life. Would you like fries with that?

The Drive-Thru Strip Club

Surely, an improbable business,
But here, on the road to Pittsburgh,
I enter Climax, where men, from the convenience
Of cars, watch women undress.
Like banking, like choosing breakfast
On a bun or briefly viewing
The just-dead from the driver’s seat,
Here is sex tease timed like the scrub
And double rinse of a car wash,
The tires of the car positioned
Properly, gear shift in neutral,
So it slides forward at the pace
That’s paid for, someone close behind
Waiting for the light to go green,
The door to lift like lingerie
In the hands of a new lover.

Just after dawn, Climax is closed,
Freeing me to park and open my door
Like a threat to the women who will
Soon enter their double-locked door.
From the highway, I must be
As unrecognizable as the masked,
Too early to pay for arousal.
A camera memorizes my car
But doesn’t film where I try
The door like a woman late for work,
A car, perhaps, already parked,
Forming the impatient traffic of need
While the heavy growl of speeding trucks
Sound so close I learn an excuse for walking
To my car where I push the button
For start, hearing the interrupted song,
The one about women who no longer
Need men as intermediaries
In the era of violent desire.

Gary Fincke has published 25 books of poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction and is the winner of the 2003 Flannery O'Connor Prize for Short Fiction for his collection Sorry I Worried You. His work has been anthologized in The Pushcart Book of Essays and cited in Best American Essays, Best American Stories, The O. Henry Awards, and Pushcart Prize volumes. He currently teaches at Susquehanna University and directs The Writers Institute. This poem originally appeared in River Styx #89, published in the spring of 2013.

Gary Fincke and Kerry James Evans

What: River Styx series

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17

Where: Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Ave.

Cost: $3-$5

Information: riverstyx.org/

Other "Free Verse" poets: Katy Didden,  Lee Upton, Annie Finch, Robert Wrigley, James Arthur, Janice N. Harrington, William Trowbridge, Francesca Bell, Joshua Mehigan, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Drucilla WallMichael Meyerhofer, Travis Mossotti, Allison Joseph, Stacy Lynn Brown, Adrian Matejka, David Clewell, Catherine Rankovic,Andy Cox, Rodney Jones, Sara Burge, Melody Gee, Christopher Todd Anderson,Andrew Hudgins, Richard Cecil.


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