Paisley Rekdal
Mae West: Advice

   Better to evoke drool, to vent, retort; better 
to banter than ebb, be a kook’s revel or bee in the beret  
than a bored tart. Bare those orbs! Rob those barons! To bait
boys, better be a lewd Lorelei than dowdy hetero 
drone. Don a boa, take a bow, take a lover, take a toke. Do it 
over and over. (And yet beware the ovary not bear 
a baby batter overdose!) Better to be Lotto than Keno, blotto on vino,
have one’s bed-vite written by bard than botanist. Better to be boned 
than bones. Oath, hath Saint Tits bit it? Never! Never! Never! Never! 
Better to be relevant yet wildly irreverent; to wrest 
away the old line throne than rest on tenterhooks. Better to be
than not to. To overtake, not be overtook. 
Hen to the rooster, tooth to the dentist?
Always better to be looked over, than overlooked.

Found In Volume 41, No. 06
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Paisley Rekdal
About the Author

Paisley Rekdal is the author of over ten books of poetry and nonfiction, most recently Nightingale: Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2019) and Appropriate: A Provocation (W.W. Norton, 2021). A two-time finalist of the Kingsley Tufts Prize, her work has garnered fellowships from the NEA, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She guest edited Best American Poetry 2020, and her own work is forthcoming from or has appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and The New York Times Magazine. From 2017-2022, she served as Utah's Poet Laureate. She is Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of Utah.