The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “What Hollywood Taught Me” by Alison Taverna

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“In a Poetry Workshop”

Justin Bieber, usually the first to harmonize
swaggy at the throat of a poem, falls silent.

I’ve written about him. This is the story:
an adopted pet monkey, Malley, abandoned

in Munich. Her capuchin fingers grip the sidewalk.
One student wants the laws of transporting animals,

another the color of her fur, matted and cold.
What I want is not in the poem.

Justin’s face burns like a missed beat.
His gold bracelet obvious. From across the room:

why not juxtapose Malley’s abandonment
with Mr. Bieber’s abandonment of his son, Justin?

Most agree. These are the stakes.
Justin slides on his sunglasses, wide and dark

as television screens. He pushes
my poem off his desk, mouth straight

as a lie, states there is no use
trying to find anything human about me.


This selection comes from the poetry chapbook What Hollywood Taught Me, available from Seven Kitchens Press. Order your copy here.

Alison Taverna holds an MFA in poetry and a certificate in publishing from Chatham University where her thesis, If We Keep These Bodies, won the Best Thesis in Poetry award. She is currently the Associate Editor at Autumn House Press and the poetry instructor at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) High School. Her first chapbook, What Hollywood Taught Me won the 2015 Robin Becker Prize from Seven Kitchens Press.
Visit Alison here.

Beth Couture‘s work can be found in a number of journals and anthologies, including Gargoyle, Drunken Boat, The Southeast Review, Ragazine, and Thirty Under Thirty from Starcherone Books. Her novella, Women Born with Fur, was published by Jaded Ibis Press in 2014 as part of its Blue Bustard Novellas series. She graduates with her Master’s in Social Work at Bryn Mawr College in May, and she lives in West Philly with her husband and five cats.

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