Anne Marie Rooney’s poem “Instructions on Wooing Me” is as cool and nonplussed as flapper girl—and as promiscuous, flirting with vocabularies from dentistry to zoology to meteorology.
It begins with an invitation to her “fleeciest spots” and ends with the cynical observation originally spoken by Eddie Albert in Roman Holiday, “It’s always open season on princesses.”
Rooney, who is an English lecturer at Cornell, was born in raised in New York’s Greenwich Village.
"Instructions for Wooing Me (Monster That I Am)"
by Anne Marie Rooney
with two lines taken from Roman Holiday
First generate a charge. Rub hard
if you have to. Crash a little against my fleeciest spots.
When I begin to stain with electricity, turn your faucets off.
I am a pornography of small promises. I tell you this softly
because really I am a soft thing. I open my modesty
umbrella. This is how you know to get out
your cutting board. If I balk pull a tooth or two.
I want you to do this to me because I want you
to do this. I am the chugging gin of the universe.
I balm and bomb. In your mind I burn like thirty watts
of unstrained honey. I am not very bright
with my antennae on. With diamonds and things
that are less than diamonds on. Like a lone languid
heat storm, you say. I say The rib cage is not
a sensible machinery. But I am dimmer even
than the face of a leap year. Stop me if I start
to speak of terror. It is a habit unbecoming of being
here. It is not good for your sauna perspective.
Is my surge protector paling? I pale to speak of it.
In the jar rimmed with pollen is a knife
with your name on it. Have I told you about the big
development? You are dreaming of me now.
If I am glowing like a firefly know that I am not
a firefly. This time of night every bee dusts
with a little sparkling blow. Blow me
back to the square I came from. It’s your move, I say.
You move an inch away. Step seven: I turn red
as a city. Step eight: I become a little less uniform.
I sprout seven more whiskers. I hiss like a firehouse
expelling its heroes. You know what to do. I can tell
by your glasses. If map then midriff. If shot glass
then novocaine. That will be all
my surnames on the floor. I’m fair game, Joe.
It’s always open season on princesses.
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