Ex Beauty Queen’s Birthday Party

By Charly Fasano


Illustration by Charly Fasano


Everyone is waiting for the guest of honor.
The birthday party at the senior center
is turning into a round table argument about medications
and sit and be fit exercises.

Stretched secrets of survival pontificated by near centenarians.
Exchanging advice on how to have an extra birthday.
Always move it or lose it.
Put a tobacco dip can next to the toilet.
Drink a home brewed tonic made out of crushed daisy stems and cheap beer.

A chorus of cane clicks
the hum from walker legs wearing tennis balls sliding across linoleum.
The party’s brought out all the residents’ best wigs, muumuus and tracksuit tuxedoes.

Everyone’s excited to have a slice of the sugar free cake.
It’s not a party until Girdy takes out her teeth.
Alice and Linda tell stories about when they were arrested for wearing pants.
Shrinking high school sports legends named Norman and Jed knee slap
about days before baseball gloves and football helmets.

Any and every tale about war. Plural.
Dust bowls.
Radio stories.
Black and white television.
Playing checkers on porches to the drone of cicada songs.
Holding up the walls at Saturday night dances.
Cider sipping on hayrides to nowhere for no reason.

The birthday girl used to be a beauty queen.
Maud’s window faces the street,
She is watching traffic pass her time
wearing the crown and sash
and almost as much makeup
as the the night she won Miss Quad Cities.



Charly Fasano is a poet, performer, filmmaker and block printer, as well as a Westword-voted Colorado Creative. Fasano has read his poems with and shared the stage with bands like Lucero, Drag the River, Crime in Stereo, Madson Jones, Land Lines and The Queers. He is the founder of Fast Geek Press, Pretend You Can Reab audio zine, and As Well As Magazine. Fasano’s poems have appeared in Yellow Rake, Lubricated Magazine, Syntax Magazine, MovingPoems.com and Growing Strange Magazine. His book of poems, Next Analog Broadcast (2011) was published by Sunnyoutside Press, and was followed by a multimedia book and 7 inch called RETROSPECT/ED featuring the music of Lucero, released on Fast Geek Press in 2014.


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