Wednesday, June 29, 1994

Polyester Pearl

It wasn’t many years ago in my travels ’round the worl’
That I wandered into Tennessee and met Polyester Pearl.
I was shoppin’ in a Wal-Mart near the Coke and tater chips
When I espied that wonder cloth stretched across those mighty hips.
Suddenly, my mouth went dry, my pulse was doin’ ninety,
As, sneaky-like, my eyes caressed her polyester hiney.
My breath, it came in little pants as my gaze danced ’cross her thighs;
I marveled at her lips and chins, and then I saw those eyes.
Those eyes! Whose haunting beauty my heart with lust did fill;
How one it darted to and fro and the other one stood still.

Oh, they called her Polly Esther for her mama’s fav’rite aunts,
But now when people call her name they mean her stretchy pants.
She’s five feet tall and three feet wide; she is a hunk of girl.
Wouldn’t have it any other way, she’s Polly Esther Pearl.

She was a thing of beauty, a girl of poise and grace,
With that spindly cigarette of hers in a Moon Pie-looking face.
I knew beyond a doubt that, as I stood there like a fool,
I must become acquainted with this Appalachian jewel.
With that end in mind, I took aim and launched my shopping cart
At the comely derriere of the girl who stole my heart.
“Ah-ooo!” she cried and spun around a howlin’ and a-roarin’.
“Mister, I think your buggy’s wheel just rolled across my corn!”
Her chalky arms were flailing like the wings upon a dove!
Her voice was so melodious; my meadowlark of love!

Oh, they call her Polly Esther for the clothesline in her yard
And she earned the name of Pearl because she’s round and hard.
With eyes as black as asphalt and blond peroxide curl,
An angel walking on the Earth: that was Polly Esther Pearl.

Then I watched in delight as this vision from my dreams
Bent down to nurse her tender toe, pants straining at the seams.
“Oh!” I said, “I’m sorry!” all innocent and good;
I made my eyes real Bambi-wide — looked as earnest as I could.
Beads of sweat clung to her mustache crownin’ that lovely mouth beneath.
Then she wrapped a sultry smile around her missing teeth.
She said, “Oh, I’ll be all right, now don’t you worry none.
But I’d be obliged if you would rub it,” and I knew her heart I’d won.
I gently took her dainty foot, I knew nothing could go wrong:
I cast aside her Dr. Scholl’s and saw she wore her toenails long.

Oh, they called her Polly Esther, how her looks they could beguile.
If I squinched my eyes up, I could see us two walking down the aisle.
She’d be walkin’ slow and solemn-like, eyes demurely lookin’ down
Above those big ol’ blushin’ bride-cheeks in her polyester wedding gown.

We walked out to her pickup truck, a one with rusted doors,
A tailgate held with baling wire, and a muffler, one that roars.
We drove on out to her place, a yard with lots of dirt and rocks,
And two or three old Chevys a-settin’ up on blocks.
“I bet you must be wonderin’ how I can pay my rent.”
She said, “I’m splittin’ my expenses with the government.”
My heart ’uz wallerin’ with joy when she told me, “Come inside.”
And we went into that house which, like my Pearl, was double wide.
Then we sat down close together, I was all eat up with lust.
And I knew beyond a doubt that I must have Pearl or bust.

Oh, they call her Polly Esther ’cause that’s what she dresses in.
And they say the Pearl part comes from her white, translucent skin.
She shucks boiled peanuts with the deftness of a squirrel,
And she eats them by the bushel, that’s Polly Esther Pearl.

I reached out so that I could touch her lovely, satin skin;
And, gently, I began to stroke the stubble on her chin.
“Pearl,” I said, “you look right nice. I love you, every ounce.
You make me feel all wiggly-like inside where it counts.”
“I’ll bet you say that to all the girls,” she said, kind of playing coy.
But she shed that skin of polyester; I could scarce hold back my joy!
As she peeled that polyester, that elastic and those straps
Left big red lines of latitude between her fleshy flaps.
Then a madman with a shotgun threw back the door and in he came.
He said, “I’m this lady’s husband; I don’t believe I caught your name.”

Oh, my dear sweet Polly Esther, I didn’t know you were a wife!
Or that if I risked my heart on you I’d also risk my life!
How I wished you were a widow and that gun back on the rack,
But I looked at you and realized you’d look like a cannonball in black.

Her husband stood before us, his eyes were fierce and feral.
He aimed his shotgun, there I was a-lookin’ down the barrel.
What claim had he to my girl? I won her, she was mine!
I thought, I’d sooner die than cast my Pearl before this swine!
I said, “I ain’t afraid to die, if you’ve a mind to shoot, go on!
’Cause if you should shoot me dead right now, I’ll know I’ve gnawed life to the bone.”
He slowly pulled the trigger, then he pulled again and cussed it.
Said, “The dad-blame thing!” and tried again, “The firing pin is rusted!”
Now, if I live a hundred years I won’t know if that hammer ever fell.
For I politely tipped my hat and turned, and then I ran like Hell!

Oh, they called her Polly Esther; mister, mark the name.
Her husband’s trigger happy, you’d best hunt diff’rent game.
But, if you don’t believe me and you must give her a whirl,
Just you go on down to Wal-Mart and ask for Polly Esther Pearl.

* * * * * *
Now, as a special reward for reading to the end of the poem,
I present the original introduction which was sent to a friend in New York.
* * * * * *

June 29,1994
Carthage, TN

I’m sending you my poem because I said I would,
So I wrote this introduction as quickly as I could.
It’s my All-But-Final-Version, and, since you may find that distressing,
Let me put your mind at ease; all that’s left is “ballad dressing.”
Now, it seems, after all these nights of rhyming ’til I drop,
I’ve finished up my poem, and I find I cannot stop.
You’d think that, after all these lines, I’d be running out of juice.
But, instead, everything I say sounds like a poor man’s Dr. Seuss.
I’ve always heard them say, “the pen is mightier than the sword,”
And when I find a thing that works, it seems I go overboard.
Well, then, if my little pen is as mighty as it seems,
I could take on old D’Artagnan ’cause I’ve written reams and reams.

I know you must be eager to read my little verse,
But you surely won’t begrudge me a few observations first.
First of all, I must point out these are not angry words.
There’s not just one Polyester Pearl, in fact there are whole herds.
When I go into town I see, as the girls bare more in June,
That young ladies here in Tennessee don’t just blossom — they balloon!
You can tell that spring has flown and the summer has come back;
The fat chicks shed their skins at Wal-Mart and left ’em hangin’ on the rack.
(How can those legs be so white when their necks are oh, so red?
And I’ve never seen butts quite that big outside of quadrupeds!)
Finally, in closing, (you’re far away, what can I lose?)
Here’s the Polyester verse I found too gross to use:

I saw she’d bought Preparation H, and I hoped that she was willing,
’Cause I have a taste for pastry — I love a tart with creamy filling.
(I knew right then that this girl was quite a catch,
For I, too, know frustration of an itch you cannot scratch.)