Pamela Murray Winters


Deep Purple at the Playboy Mansion, October 1968

Next life, I want to be a man
so I don’t have to sit with my back to the band
as they make it rain music on the club
(my body my instrument, my hair my rain).

I found an old list of ambitions. At thirteen,
I wanted to play electric. I don’t remember this.
Deep Purple and Hefner say I get to be tambourine,
a scatter of rhythm even an idiot can play.

See her on the screen? Did I want to be in a lighted box,
seize up in the dark, like that whirl of arms, abdomen,
whipped brunette? At thirteen, I had the hair, the tits, the hunger,
I sang, I wanted to play electric and then

I heard words like boyfriend and hush. Stop the video at 5:08—
for a second, she has a face.

For reference:

Provincetown Seduction

of the Pig, his face
off a drachma, hair
tight, jeans, mouth. Knuckles
thickening, burn scars
on his thumbs, knows
what to do with his
hands. He
lifts me
to the broken-shingled roofs,
so pretty, the kind
of place you live and die. Such a crowd
of weathered wood.
Such birdshit, so blessed. I float,
a beloved cloud, no
rain, just shape
and shape
again. A drifting, ringed arm
after arm, color after color. Whose
garden was this?
His bay
eyes make me beautiful. He
zips up the dress,
carefully, and fills my arms with prickled
roses. He gives me water. I’m on
my own.

Anyway, the Moon

Where do the stars go after implants and fillers?
I heard there’s a special hotel that doesn’t require showing faces.
The hush of gauze and terry robes under golden-lily sconces.
Cross enough palms with enough silver, and silence.

I once saw the moon in eclipse, rejuvenated, hard,
untouchable, like metal. My husband and I took a road trip,
and we never fought. Slept bare under a white duvet,
wandered the foreign South. Too much beer, no kiss.

A little while, in July, we had a thing about how the moon
had disappeared. I don’t know the phase, maybe new,
maybe behind the pear tree. Maybe we checked the window
at all the wrong times. Anyway, the moon

seemed to have rolled off to a better backyard
on a more grateful planet, and we were left
with a color neither black nor blue nor gray
and a good story to tell ourselves as we turned in.

Pamela Murray Winters writes and procrastinates in Bowie, Maryland. A graduate of the University of Maryland and the Vermont College of Fine Arts, she has received two Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist awards. Her first book, The Unbeckonable Bird, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. As a third-place finisher on Jeopardy!, she talked to Alex Trebek about Spinal Tap.