I’ve got Bette Davis eyes,
seething in a jar of formaldehyde,
simmering on the dressing table,
glaring as I shuck sleep,
slink into a kimono from Garbo.
I light up a fag and stare
into a slither of Minelli’s mirror,
it’s all I could afford at the time.
Tapping ash onto Marlene Dietrich’s dentures,
as the tainted teeth mouth bitter comments.

My drawers reek of death,
a pair of Judy Garland’s knickers,
snug as ruby slippers.
I pull on James Dean’s keks,
slightly soiled and smelling
of testosterone and fear.
A baggy jumper belonging to Streisand
slung over Brandon’s vest top,
slick with sweat and desire.

I dress in a bricolage of iconography,
assimilating greatness.
Sitting, I paste grease paint,
Springfield’s eye shadow,
Nina Simone’s lips,
rouged like Bassey,
in bold, garish colours.
I pout perfectly,
kissing my reflection goodbye.

Tipping Sinatra’s fedora from my elbow
to my head, smoothly choreographed.
I grab Astaire’s cane,
whistling a jaunty show-tune.
I close the door on myself,
leaving as someone who’ll top the bill.


Morgan Melhuish is an aspiring poet and full time teacher who recently moved to the land of Brassed Off and God’s Own Country – quite a cinematic contrast! His work can be found in Outcast Magazine and The Impossible Archetype and he has a short story in Brenda and Effie: A Treasury.