Denise Duhamel: Girl Talk

I lost my Ronnie when I was only 58.  58!  Can you imagine?  I was so young then, but I wasn’t interested in anyone else.  I often fantasized that Ronnie died (I know, terrible!) but then when he really did die (heart) I missed him so much.  About a year later, a man tried to touch me at a party (a retirement party for Lulu’s husband Ralph).  I slapped him and went home crying before they even served the cake.  I spent a decade crying.  I didn’t even touch myself, if you know what I mean.  My daughter gave me this—I don’t know what it’s called—a dildo maybe?  It was purple, and it scared me to death!  But then, when I was 68, I met Herbert (at the community center—I was volunteering and he came in asking if there were any regular card games).  I don’t know why I went out with him— perhaps because he seemed very gentle.  After our date (Giorgio’s—I had the flounder, a little dry, but OK, and very nice bread) he asked me back to his condo (Sea Towers, eighth floor, ocean view, very neat) to watch a movie (Turner Classics).  Then, after an hour or so, he told me he had a second TV in his bedroom and asked me to lie down with him there.  I said, “Are you crazy?  This is our first date…” and he said, “But I have prostate problems.  Really, all I want to do is lie down and hold you.”  Well, I was hooked.  We’ve been together for over ten years.  No sex!  He just kisses me (no tongue even) and rubs my back.  His doctor wanted to give him Viagra, but I told him, “Herbert, you get those pills and it’s all over.”  He’s not interested, really, either.  Sometimes we stay up all night listening to records (he still has a stereo that works) and holding hands. It’s incredible.  I feel like a schoolgirl again.

from Ka-Ching! (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009)

Denise Duhamel’s most recent books of poetry include Ka-ching!, Two and Two (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009 and 2005) and Mille et Un Sentiments, a limited edition chapbook (Firewheel Editions, 2005),  Queen for a Day (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001) and The Star Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press,1999).  Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative Poetry (an anthology which Duhamel edited with Maureen Seaton and David Trinidad) was published in 2006 from Soft Skull Press.  A winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, she is a professor at Florida International University in Miami.

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