Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Two Poems by R. Zamora Linmark

Last Dance

So sad Donna Summer passed away
this morning I have nothing to say
I’m here standing by the window
processing recovered memories
in lieu of loss the mourning sun
on my face ghetto and glamour
twenty-two stories beneath my feet
it makes me sick to say farewell
to another diva whose disco tracks made
my first years in America supra-bearable
Donna was my lei greeter to pop stars
and stripes darling I did not just
assimilate or anthropologically speaking
acculturate I feathered and flipped my
hair too flaunted my fresh-off-the-

plane attitude in Famolare platforms
polyester long-sleeve shirts denim
bellbottoms oohing and aahing twenty-
two times baby throughout "Love
to Love You, Baby" on the dance floor
rolled my eyes back to Avila while fantasy
lovers guided me out of fear and
longing for a home no longer there
disco and Donna had taken over
as my new world felt safe and sexy
grooving to “Dim All The Lights”
with my hands on my secret crush’s waist
his hands padding my shoulders
enough distance between us to watch
the biting of our lips before whispering
to each other the most beautiful word
in the disco language – “babe”

then there was that afternoon in ‘79
Jeff choreographed a “Bad Girls” number
to be performed on a stonewall by me Julie
my sister Jing as three die-hard hookers
on Hotel Street selling love at half-off
because it was cheaper than sorry
how we hey’d toot-tooted and beep-beeped
danced and role-played deep
into the night worshipping you Donna
even after word got around that disco
caused cancer and you turned your back
on Adam Steve and Eve your number-one
fag-and-hag fans still we saluted you then
as I and the sun bow to you now hearing
your voice in my head singing “Could
It Be Magic?” after all these years
what else could it be but magic and arias
and endless oohs and aahs of our almost-
gone glory here's to your first day
of everness dear Donna Patron Diva of

Our Unending Last Dance.

         —for Jessica Hagedorn and Ching Valdes

Before Jessica sent back the chicken,
the black widow dropped by to show
off her latest husband. Then Ching arrived
bringing the latest typhoon body count 
from the motherland we sometimes call
home. When the chicken returned, Jessica
was already done dreaming of Lorca 
mingling with moths and stars. I kept on
and on about sleep-deprived evenings
in the Hamptons hitting me hard it felt
like ten thousand vigils. Then Ching
said: Life’s too short, we really should find
tables for more time like this.

"Last Dance" originally appeared in Anomalous Press, an on-line literary journal, and Pop Verite (Hanging Loose Press, 2017).

"Reunion" is from Drive-By Vigils (Hanging Loose Press, 2011).


The Poet’s Notes on His Poems
"Last Dance" is inspired by Jessica's works which showed me how to integrate pop culture into the poem and elevate it to a poetic level. "Reunion" is one that I dedicate to her and her dear friend, the actress Ching Valdes. 

R. Zamora Linmark's latest poetry collection is Pop Verite, from Hanging Loose Press. Forthcoming is These Books Belong to Ken Z, a YA novel. He divides his time between Honolulu and Manila.

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