Joan Jobe Smith

Tales of an Ancient Go-Go Girl is Joan Jobe Smith’s book about her life as a go-go dancer in 1960s Los Angeles. It’s an autobiography and scattered through it are several poems, this being one of ’em.


The Playgal Club owners had photos
of all us go-go girls
wallpapering the wall of their office:
8″ x 10″ glossies of all of us,
past and present, bending over
or turning around showing off
breasts or bottoms or our faces
marabou or leopard skin draped
across our boobs pooching over our top

all of us photgraphed
by a guy older than our fathers
who called himself the Silver Fox
and still wore a 1954 bowtie and crew cut
and fancied himself a hot lover man
a Hugh Hefner harem-keeper
instead of a dirty old man
rutting around shirtless
while he snapped our pictures
in his apartment taking hours
touching us here and there
wiping his bald head and bushy eyebrows
sweating from the hot lights and his libido

and it was rumoured that you
only got photos of yourself for yourself
if you went to bed with the Silver Fox although
all the girls denied it said What?
Me go to bed with that old fart?
Yet, Bunni, Wendi, Suzi Q and delilah
got portfolios, Barbie 50 8x10s
she sold for $50 each to her
boyfriends and sugar daddies
while all I ever got after coffee
at Denny’s with the Silver Fox
was one for me and one copy for the boss’s office
which they tacked near the trashcan
and every day during the 2 years
I worked at the Playgal Club I watched my face,
cleavage, smile and hairdo
become fly-specked, cigarette ash-dusty
beer-, coffee- and rain stained
as the strange wallpaper of myself
became a ruin in my own lifetime –
a squalid impertinence
of my inestimable unimportance.

Joan Jobe Smith

3 thoughts on “Joan Jobe Smith

  1. Carol Tristano

    Joan Jobe Smith is amazing. An incredible poem – utter reality expressed in poetry that sears your soul. The last 4 lines are a brilliant show stopper!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.