Gatsby Woman


this poem has been slightly altered from its original format to appear on our website. You can read the poem in its original form through the link to the .pdf here

After The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and ‘Gatsby Woman’ by Kingo Hamada

And he says he loves me, old sport. Nevermind the shattered glass

    on the front porch. Nevermind anything I ever thought of you. I know

        he wants to buy me:

Wants to buy and love. Damn fool should know he can’t have both.

Not with this kind of life. His lips like charred cigars and clothes smelling of

     silk more expensive than my life. Funny how he reaches an arm out to me

like he reaches out to her. Maybe it’s in the shadow of our faces:

     both weathered. Both tired. How many times stuck in the same tug of war. Our skin

folding over with lines like caverns. But he says,

        you’re beautiful, old sport. And he says it to her too. He says it with everything in him.

Only a handful of days since he found me,

and even I know what a man looks like when he’s in love. Even with my leash

in his fist, he leans over the dinner table and

        She lets his eyes wander. With her, it’s never old sport, is it? Don’t lie to me.

It’s everything to be with her. For her. To be her. She could hold a gun and he’d beg:

    Baby shoot me shoot me and the bullet would bang and he would explode in ecstasy.

It’s like gasoline to a fire, building a valley of ashes right in front of God’s eyes.

The smell of smoke would blur and I would cry and

        He would walk into the flames open-armed and smiling.

I’m tired of pulling North and South apart. Let them collide. They’ve ruined me enough times.

Killed me enough times. Sunk their teeth into me enough times. I can walk out of this funeral:

        scarred and scabbed and running. Nevermind the mansion.

Nevermind the flowers or the bullet or the dead body floating in the water. Nevermind

the eyes of God staring down at me. I can split the dock in two now:

        I walk straight down the middle like Moses, and crush that green light till it stops blinking.

Jessica Tsang