The Burlesque Dancer

By TaintedSaffron

 Feathers from her boa scattered,

silver looking glass lies shattered,

lacy corset, torn and tattered,

crawling down a bloody chair.

Perfume bottles spilt and leaking,

while the wardrobe doors are creaking,

pearls behind the nightstand sneaking,

make-up powder fills the air.

Snake-like scarlet stains are streaking

out from underneath her hair.

Parted lips. A silent stare.


Men in times of evening leisure

seeking bits of guilty pleasure

came to her and left a treasure

of red roses at her feet.

With her gestures lewdly taunting,

when she danced, she left them wanting.

Upon leaving there was one thing

on their mind, one thought discreet

crept into their minds so haunting

as they stepped out in the street –

how to quench that itching heat.

Countless times he watched her dancing

from the darkened corner, glancing

at the men she was entrancing,

watched her with a silent glare.

When her seedy act was over,

to her lodgings then he drove her.

Brimming with disgust, he strove to

tear her from that loathsome lair.

Threatened death. And countless times she

teased him that he wouldn’t dare.

Never saw how much he cared.


So when he came late one evening

he saw her as she was leaving

with some gent and, disbelieving

that for once they wouldn’t meet,

he pursued them, softly easing

his mind of the unappeasing

thought that she just might be pleasing

him when they reach her retreat.

At the thought his heart was freezing

and his rigor was complete

when he witnessed her deceit.


And the rest needs no description:

jealousy brought on conniption

due to gruesomer affliction

than his sanity could bare.

So he chose to liberate her,

for he could not stand to hate her.

Just his agony was greater

than his weakening despair.

Agony that, coming later,

those who chance to find her there

wouldn’t spare her but a prayer.

Unauthorized Copying Is Prohibited. Ask the author first.
Copyright 2012 TaintedSaffron
Published on Wednesday, August 15, 2012.     Filed under: "Structured" and "Poetry"

Author's Note:

This was the poem that kept me from writing for more than a year. I couldn't finish it and I didn't want to start something new and potentially abandon this one. After it's finally ready, I'm free :)
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Comments on "The Burlesque Dancer"

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  • Outlander On Saturday, September 15, 2012, Outlander (23)By person wrote:

    A wonderful piece of work. I am a great fan of Poe, therefore this "Nevermore"-esque piece had really inspired me to write something similar. Stanza-wise.

  • dwells On Monday, August 20, 2012, dwells (5703)By person wrote:

    Went to a burlesque show once on West Palm Beach and it was tacky. I think you are probably writing about a stripper or pole dancer with a regular admirer and steady customer. I almost was one once, but then snapped out of it and moved-on to better things. Thanks for the memories and you never know what lurks behind those leering eyeballs in the darkened corners. Cheers!

  • TaintedSaffron On Tuesday, August 21, 2012, TaintedSaffron (124)By person wrote:

    Burlesque today and what it was in the beginning of the century are two different things. But it could be read as you suggested - a modernized version. What I imagined was Europe in the twenties, Paris maybe, one of those smoky nightclubs with a stage... And it should be a little tacky, I think. More on the tawdry side than the glamorous side.

  • dwells On Thursday, August 23, 2012, dwells (5703)By person wrote:

    The burlesque show was 40 years ago! There was a crappy comedian as a warm up act, who went around embarassing customers. The stripper was fine for a 40 year old, cheers!

  • TaintedSaffron On Wednesday, August 29, 2012, TaintedSaffron (124)By person wrote:

    Hm, then there must be something wrong with my research. From what I read, I understand that the show as we know it developed around the beginning of the last century and the 20s were a boom for this kind of shows. Forty years ago it was in decline, followed by a revival starting about 20 years ago up to the present day. P.S. A decadent redhead stole your heart and mind in your youth? Nice! Surely, you honored her with a poem, unless your brain was all mushy from looking at her for too long :)

  • TaintedSaffron On Tuesday, August 21, 2012, TaintedSaffron (124)By person wrote:

    Thanks for reading and commenting. By the way, she must have been really something to "almost" turn you into a steady customer.

  • dwells On Thursday, August 23, 2012, dwells (5703)By person wrote:

    Big Red was a pole dancer at a club near the junior college. I got all C's that semester, but and A in anatomy! Cheers!

  • Alchemist On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, Alchemist (860)By person wrote:

    Wow, that was bad ass, the best I have read in a long time around here.

  • FadedBlues On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, FadedBlues (2938)By person wrote:

    ...'quoth the raven, "Nevermore!" ' you are a huge Poe fan, & this is glorious!...

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