S: Stripper


S: Stripper

 When I did Q for Vision I ran across this eye chart that caught my eye but hesitated to include it in the essay. I have revised that opinion (see prior blog) and include it here. Primal awareness attends the playful revelation of flesh by a lover, an entertainer or oneself. To be without clothes leaves a person vulnerable, a nuance on the word exposed. Marilyn Monroe lives on my computer in digital images.


Until I moved to California I had never seen a stripper in the flesh (bad pun.) Being in California, so foreign from where I had lived was a major culture shock and that long-forgotten entertainer is perhaps a symbol of the move from a kind of innocence to adulthood and much needed maturity.

A story from childhood lingers. I must have been 8-10 and the girls a year or two older older. One summer evening a group, maybe half a dozen girls gathered in a vacant lot between two houses and took off their clothes. Then they ran around the block startling a few people before dashing back to their clothes. One of those girls told me about the incident giving credibility to what I had imagined. Before they undressed another boy and myself were driven away by threats and dirty looks. When we ventured back we saw the girls already dressed, one girl I recall tying her shoes. They cursed us again and threatened bodily harm if we stayed around. We ran. My imagination suggests it would have been wickedly fun to steal some of their clothes, but fear of bodily harm kept us away.

Entertainers before the Black Drape
Stripper 1
Clothed in nightfall, mist and sequins,
she treads slowly
amid the smoke and loud music.
In choreographed steps and glides,
smiles and rubs, inviting–
then off-putting.
Catching a hem of skirt she flashes leg
and then hesitates–waiting for the
calls to show more.
In the neon glow, she slowly
onnnnnnnnnnnnn s.

Then elevates the skirt to display thigh and nylon promise.

She plays with the skirt–
pulling, twisting, waving,
twirling, smoothing, feeling,
petting, and then
In black bra and petticoats, a filly prances, neighing kisses to the hooting men.
In a single move she lifts the petticoats overhead,
& turns from the voyeurs–
while she stares at black altar drape, jaw set in bleak smile.
Hands cupping chest, she jiggles delight to a blushing boy in the second row
and then dances free, and all see the swinging breasts above flat belly
and taut nylon
In lurid g-string, she offers it all to yahoos of her world; at last she

off the g-string and throws it to the almost-innocent in row 2.
Then coyly, covers loins and chest and greets the darkness of obscurity.
Stripper 2 had frosted hair, blue panties, no bra, the smile was forfeited in sweat and dread.
Stripper 3 had yellow panties and long ago stopped praying to either drape or darkness.
Stripper 4 looked scared and alone…
Stripper 5 wore pink and white, talked to herself, and moved a beat ahead of the music.
Stripper 6 focused on the red-faced man in row 1, gave him her underthings and memories of a night on a foreign town. her grin was waxen and depraved.
Stripper 7 began as i left …. she may have danced before.
Terry Redman © 1995, 2014

Think back to the first time your lover undressed for you, and you undressed for him or her. Is it still exciting? Strip poker, strip tease, losing a bet and having to…. This is all embedded in our psyche.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. heyannis
    Nov 24, 2014 @ 20:01:09

    Terry ~ The childhood memory is precious. I like the contrast between the actions of those “strippers” and the professional ones. Love your poem. These lines struck me: “Clothed in nightfall, mist and sequins,” and “…the smile was forfeited in sweat and dread.” Thank you. xoA



  2. Terry Redman
    Nov 24, 2014 @ 22:38:36

    my childhood was spent in isolated innocence where a group of girls could do that and live to tell the tale. Over the years I saw some of those girls from time to time and recalled what I had almost seen, and what she had done. Solomon published that poem in the CSUB literary anthology, sans permission. A former student told me she has read it.



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