The Poetry Brothel
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Bernadette McComish as Madame Tallulah Rossa

Character Biography

Talulla Rossa is a five-hundred year old fortuneteller and medium. Her father was an extraterrestrial from the future who traveled back in time, and impregnated her mother in an astral field of honeysuckle while she was sleepwalking. Her mother never saw his face, and yet Tallula dreams of her faceless father who whispers that she is one of the few pearls he planted in order to save the world from extinction. Born in a blizzard with the gifts of premonition, and manifestation, her magic blooms best close to the ocean. Her blood is filled small grains of green sand from a time when all that's left of the world is stardust, and tourmaline. When she writes, her words become reality, and she’s been known to turn lovers into goldfish with a sonnet, and speak directly with ghosts of drag queens. To her, all people are just a john, regardless if they are a woman, a ghost, or the president…especially if they're the president.

Professional Biography

Bernadette McComish earned an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence, and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from Hunter. Her poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Sunday Salon, Hakol, Hospital Drive, Slipstream, Storyscape, Rag Queen Periodical, Flapper House, DeLuge, and she was a finalist for the New Millennium Writers 41st poetry prize. Her collection 'The Book of Johns' is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. She teaches High School in Los Angeles, and performs with the Poetry Society of New York curing one human at a time with words and glitter.

WORK SAMPLES

Pandora

Prometheus didn’t see
her coming
and when she was
gone, every other night he welcomed
whisky vultures to help his liver
forget immortality.

Easy to say she knew what she was doing,
blame her
for opening. Even
with all the gifts
of the gods she could not know.

She was not crafted
from clay, not mud like Eve,
she was stolen fire, 
retribution dipped in Cupid’s
poison, the perfect punishment. 

Even after the buzzard was slain, he returned
to the same rock and broken
chains, not looking for hope
but for her and the home she kept
in the box. 

Tonight 

  His chipped tooth draws
  blood from my bottom lip
  after a kiss. We kiss more,

  keep close the secrets of animals
  we once were and want to be
  again. We don’t notice

  metal mingles with the taste of now,
  but it lingers in our memory
  like a dream blacklisted

  from consciousness, like the promise
  of a ring, or lavish hope for a little girl
  growing in my belly.

  Wishes are futile and stink
  like tinfoil balled
  and abandoned under the car seat.

  When did we forget how to be human?
  Was it the topless vodka haircut

  or the record player reminding us
  to tap into a world we made up
  in the kitchen.

  The sheets rip
  a glass breaks
  all that’s left are boxes,

  long red hairs stuck to the walls,
  and small paper wrappers.
  I steal some drawings, a little money,

  nothing you’d notice, and tell you
  to keep anything I forget.