My Beautiful Nymphomaniac

It’s my birthday.

I am fifteen wishing I was twenty,

and I am with Julienne

walking up Washington Street,

and she is definitely twenty

or maybe even older,

and I am in love with her and to me

she is everything, everything, everything.


My mom says she is a nymphomaniac–

But, really, I don’t know what exactly that means,

but my best friend Russ and I agree:

a nymphomaniac probably likes having lots of sex,

and I am walking up the street beside Julienne

because I want her to have lots of sex with me.


But around me, she acts absolutely normal,

like a girl should act, not like the girls in my class,

and I don’t care that she doesn’t act

like a nymphomaniac

because she is beautiful with suntan skin,

long brown hair and strands that seem to float

in the stifling summer air,

and today she has a yellow daisy near her ear

and she wears a red lipstick that grabs you inside

along with her dark eyebrows and sparkly hazel eyes.


And her breasts, Julienne’s breasts are everything

I could ever want, bouncing firm and free

under her strapless summer dress,

a soft dress with highlights of red and green flowers,

and her toe nails poke ruby red from out of her sandals,

and I can hardly believe my luck walking beside her.

She is a goddess who makes me feel like I am somebody,

not just a stupid kid who turned fifteen,

as we walk together past the college campus

in the white heat of a weekday afternoon.


She represents everything I want love to be.

Oh god, if she would only stay forever beside me.

I am thrilled to be in her presence,

walking up Washington Street,

and Washington Street is full of freaks,

long-hairs, and hippies so cool,

nobody thinks of anything, like school,

but they see us and she is talking to me.


And that’s the only birthday gift I want:

to be older and, like her, in college.

Just being beside her is like I’ve aged,

and, with her, I am a hipster too,

not a kid in a wrinkly t-shirt

that says Get Smart,

wearing stupid-looking madras shorts,

and clomping along with hairy legs

and feet too big for me in old sneakers.


On this sidewalk, right now, I am alive,

and I want to cry with happiness-

and not just because

my mom says Julienne is a nymphomaniac-

to me Julienne is so worldly and wise

and she talks as if we are all equals,

regardless of our ages and whether or not

I am a guy, and she is smart and an artist

and someone who sees the world

in a bouquet of hand-picked flowers.


She tells me she is heading to Chicago

because everyone is going to be there

at the Democratic National Convention.

and I am shocked,

I didn’t know this and now that I am fifteen

I should know all about this.

Everyone will be protesting the war

at the Democratic National Convention

and she says I should go too.

Boy, what would I give to protest the war

with her if she would only take me.


I will have to ask my mother,

and I know my mom won’t let me go.

I flunked ninth grade and she is so

mad at me she won’t let me do anything

but sit in summer school every morning,

even on my birthday.

She says I’m not dumb and thinks

I flunked because my dad left, but she says

I’ve got to get into tenth grade,

because she can’t take it anymore.


But she will think this is a smart thing

to do before entering high school in the fall,

even if I have to miss a few classes of geometry

and, fucking, earth and space science.


But I have no choice if I want to be

with Julienne, my beautiful nymphomaniac.

I want to soak in her aura.

I want to march with her in Lincoln Park passing out flowers.

I want to light hundreds of candles with her at night.

I want to lie with her in my sleeping bag

so she can show me

what it feels like to have sex with someone.


My best friend Russ and me

swore an oath as twelve-year-old’s

not to die as virgins.

Now that I am fifteen

I know my odds of dying a virgin are increasing,

but being in Chicago with a nymphomaniac

can change everything.


Another friend, Bruce, from school told me

he went to Julienne’s apartment earlier in the summer

to buy some pot

and she was lounging naked as a jaybird

on her couch

and he nearly fainted.

She was with some naked guy with his penis hanging out.

Later, in the summer, Bruce told me it wasn’t her

but someone else and she looked really good too.

But that truly is beside the point:

imagining Julienne naked on her couch

sharing a joint with my penis hanging out

is wild. I am thinking exactly that

walking with her up Washington Street

when she asks me what I’m thinking.

I tell her it’s my birthday.

She asks how old I am and I say nineteen.

She smiles at that and says Happy Birthday.


Maybe she will invite me

into her apartment on Washington Street

and share a birthday joint with me.

I have one in my wallet that I saved

for today that my older sisters gave me.

No girl other than my sisters

have ever shared a joint with me.

I have never, ever, even seen a girl

smoke a joint, other than my sisters,

but they don’t count

even though they often have weed.


My sisters don’t know Julienne’s a nymphomaniac,

I work as a busboy at night, night after night

in my family’s restaurant and pub,

and Julienne often waves to me

coming in the door.

When she leaves the bar,

she’s always with a different guy,

she’s not as friendly to me, maybe even sad

when we catch each other’s eyes

as I watch them go out the door.


I once overheard my mom talking to a bartender

and several of the waitresses she calls friends.

She said Julienne must be the town’s

nymphomaniac and shook her head.

My older brother Charley, who has a ton of Playboys

under his bed, says, so what, it’s better than being

a college prude like so many of the girls on campus.


Julienne asks me where I am going?

She stops at the walkway to her apartment.

She is smiling at me and, inside, I am quivering.

I say, I dunno. I was walking uptown to buy some comics

with the five dollars my great aunt sent me.

I am tired of growing up last, being at home and I hate this town.

and I don’t want to celebrate my birthday around a picnic table

at the lake this coming weekend.

Julienne says, you are the only guy I trust.

I know you always watch out for me.

Always, I stammer, but, Julienne, I am not nineteen.

She pulls the daisy from out of her hair.

I know, she says, you are much older.

she hands me her yellow flower.

Happy Birthday, kid. Maybe I’ll see you in Chicago.

I say, I hope so! and I do. I make this my only wish,

but I know I’ll be busing tables for my mother

the rest of the summer.



Categories: Poetry, Selection: 2020

3 replies

  1. Fabulous. Epic. Captures the essence of memories. I can feel the emotions in my own heart. Wonderful work, Jon!


  2. Enjoyed your work, Jon. Evokes some memories

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