My agent’s not returning phone calls
so I can’t tell him this is not
the role I’ve spent my life
preparing for: a little Egyptian picture
where I’m worshipped as a god, that’s
what I had in mind, and Hedda Hopper
is dead, so I can’t crawl
in her window and confess
I’m too sensitive for this basement,
this small man and smaller
paintbrush, I can’t tell her Roger Corman
should keep an eye on my dreams,
where I reclaim my Inner
Sabertooth, and revenge

On this rainy afternoon in Hollywood
California, I’m practicing
philosophy, watching him sip Napa Red
while he remakes me
into a dog-slut, her clown’s tilt
of the head, shameless way she begs
for tidbit or walks, I’m telling myself
in the autobiography yet to be written
there’s a lesson in here somewhere,
how the familiar skin slips off
like a starlet’s gown, and you’re staring
at the canvas, at someone impossible
to recognize, who everyone insists
is you

Elizabeth Gold is the author of the memoir Brief Intervals of Horrible Sanity. Her poems have appeared in Field, The Indiana Review, The Mid-American Review, Gulf Coast, and other journals. She lives in Edinburgh.

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