Madonna Vs. Whore

by Therese Elaine

I'm a saint
in sinner's clothing
these glad rags
and gamine smile
the only armour I possess
against innuendo
and assumed identity.
A shopgirl veneer
and sailor's goodbye
with these pawnshop principles
and cabaret charisma
I drown my sorrows
in dime-store novel dreams
second rate wine
and the taste of apologies
that came too late
or not at all.
I'm a good girl
with all a bad girl's lines
my décolletage defiance
and perfumed pecadilloes
are the perfect window-dressing
for the parts of me worn thin
from being handled without care.
I'm all those late-night longings
and lucrative indiscretions
born of small-town virtue blues
and broken phone booth confessions
I drown my sorrows
in faded photograph smiles
salted mascara
and the taste of apologies
that came too late
or not at all.
I'm an ingenue
for all my wicked ways
Sunday morning salvation
may not be my style
but I've still got
a particular kind of
saving grace.
I'm never a prolonged goodbye
but a once-over once too often
I'm perfect for the previews
but I'm never the featured attraction
I drown my sorrows
in broken-heart melodies
a litany of why
and the taste of apologies
that came too late
or not at all.


Author's Note: Sometimes it's easier to give them what they expect...one runs out of surprises after awhile.

Posted on 01/04/2010
Copyright © 2021 Therese Elaine

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by V. Blake on 01/04/10 at 05:20 AM

You have a talent for writing to which I can only hope to aspire. This is brilliant. You've got such a unique, recognizable, and powerful voice in all your poems, and your unrivaled vocabulary never seems to fail you when you need it.

Posted by Nanette Bellman on 01/05/10 at 12:11 AM

This poem hits me hard because I feel as if you've walked in my shoes and lived my life. This is totally me. I agree with Vince on your vocab. Wish I could use words like that. Adding to favorites

Posted by Charlie Morgan on 01/05/10 at 02:05 AM

...therese, you ever heard two old women or men, duh, talk and one on them says, "well, i NEVER.!, well i'm one old man talking, "well, i NEVER!...this is printable as is, i'm like Vince, i aspire, i aspire...i admire you puttin' a whoopin' on the English language...ahhh, and the taste of apologies that came too late or not at all. a cresendo if ever i saw one, you're the Queen of Write on this one.

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 01/05/10 at 02:20 AM

Vince says everything I feel about this poem and your writing. Your skill surpasses gifted in writing especially on such a subject. You deliver with grace and ease and brilliance.

Posted by Michael Smith on 01/06/10 at 04:43 AM

Very insightful. I feel it speaks well for an unfortunately ever-growing part of our population and can serve as a great warning to all of us to be kinder to each other. Thanks for sharing, Therese.

Posted by Michael Smith on 01/06/10 at 04:46 AM

I forgot to mention that, I, too, think you demonstrate well, a great, subtle, and powerful skill in putting just the write words together for consonance and assonance that greatly enhances the way your words roll off of our tongues.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 01/07/10 at 12:07 AM

Marvelous flow and imagery, matter-of-fact, unashamed - such a strength of self. I also liked the subtle bit of repetition in lines that gives a cohesive touch.

Posted by Ken Harnisch on 01/08/10 at 04:16 PM

Oh, this is superior poetry: brutally honest with the accompaniment of mellifluous language to put a stamp on both style and substance. I bow, Therese, to excellence!

Posted by Sarah Wolf on 01/11/10 at 02:16 AM

This painted such images of my mind... I like the theme... and it is written in such a clever manner...

Posted by Laura Doom on 01/22/10 at 11:41 AM

Well, I don't agonise over honesty or accuracy, verity or morality in poetry; if it strips me down and sucks me up, sweeps me in and spits me out, I'm happy.
I'm delirious :>

Posted by Richard Paez on 01/26/10 at 12:31 AM

Definition of cognitive dissonance: wanting to applaud a poem for its cadences, power, diction, imagery, and brutal honesty, but feeling that applause would be inappropriate due to the seriousness and suffering of its subject matter. Your use of French here was a perfect choice – the images called up just by the language itself couldn't be more ideally suited to the poem, and the touches of alliteration and assonance remind of the speech the speaker might actually use (in our fevered dreams of the virgin/whore paradox, that is). A great write on an touchy subject. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Charles M Harrison on 02/07/10 at 04:08 AM

The words have power, yet they flow so easy. You find yourself drawn in, not wanting the poem to end because the reading is such a pleasure.

Posted by James Zealy on 07/06/10 at 09:04 PM

I find that those that deny passionate discourse in its many varieties, fail to see that life, living and experiencing life have nothing to do with morality.

Posted by Glenn Currier on 07/07/10 at 02:31 PM

It looks like Vince got us started just right - we admirers of the "Queen of Write." You are a gifted surgeon - with your sharp word and mind gifts - you cut through the superficial, the obvious, that too often veils my vision and reveal (as if turning the scalpel on yourself) the oh so beautiful underground lake from whence this and so many of your poems come. This is magnificent. Thank you, my dear. My recommendation for POTD.

Posted by Max Bouillet on 07/09/10 at 01:54 AM

Let me paint a picture of myself and present myself to you one lie at a time. Soon when I go to wash the paint off, I find that I have disappeared and there is nothing left but dirty wash rags. Great read.

Posted by Steve Michaels on 10/10/10 at 11:25 PM

I really adore these lines: "A shopgirl veneer and sailor's goodbye with these pawnshop principles and cabaret charisma"

Posted by Mo Couts on 06/24/11 at 02:52 AM

This is intelligent and clever; a rare pairing of adjectives for poetry I think. Awesome.

Posted by Rachelle Howe on 06/05/12 at 12:16 AM

I want this.

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