Featured Poem • November 2016
Champagne Ivy is her name blonde and self-possessed she sizes him up: dreamboat Dr. Jekyll debonair healer laughing, she slowly strips gets into bed, grabs him in a kiss he’s got a fiancée (of his own class) so he makes himself leave but Ivy’s gartered leg still swings back and forth a tormenting metronome superimposed over him Ivy thinks she’s in a pre-Code comedy the kind that guarantees the woman eventual bliss with a man (or two) she can’t see Jekyll’s submerged anger and frustration waiting to unleash the so-called evil, Jekyll lectures once liberated would fulfill itself and trouble us no more no one in the lecture hall full of men asks about the one in evil’s path Champagne Ivy is her name she sings it in the bar Hyde watches she’ll never be so free again once he gets his hands on her her name is bruise her name is scream her name is choked whisper she shows Jekyll the welts on her back and pleads for his help contrite, he swears Hyde’s gone for good and she believes just as I almost forget it’s still Fredric March beneath hideous makeup, pasted-on hair and jagged dentures and here he is again despite his fervent promises Ivy’s prince, her handsome doctor her leading man his face twisted with rage evil, once liberated her song strangled in her throat and trouble us no more?
Gwynne Garfinkle lives in Los Angeles. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in such publications as Strange Horizons, Interfictions, Apex Magazine, Through the Gate, The Cascadia Subduction Zone, inkscrawl, Postscripts to Darkness, and The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk. For more about her work, visit her website: gwynnegarfinkle.com.
About “Champagne Ivy,” she wrote, “I was fascinated by Rouben Mamoulian’s 1931 film of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde even before I’d managed to see it. As a young monster-movie fan in the days before home video, I pored over a book of stills from the film. The images of Fredric March’s Jekyll and Hyde, of Miriam Hopkins’s Ivy, haunted my imagination, and they still do now that I’ve seen the film many times. It was only natural, when I started working on a series of poems inspired by classic horror films, that I’d want to write a poem based on this one. I especially wanted to explore the film’s frank sexuality and its visceral depiction of the cycle of abuse.”
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