Monday, February 21, 2022

Peter Mladinic


Rod Necessary, pleasure to meet you,
or Rod Necessary, the pleasure is mine.
Never Rodney, what my mother named me.
After the theme tune, part Monkees, part
Here’s Johnny, I heard bachelor number 3
Rodney Necessary. In polished loafers,
navy blue blazer, the collar of my lime
shirt spread over the lapel, I walked on
stage and took my place, dark waves of
Lustrous hair falling past my shoulders.

Like others, I was a referral, my accountant,
who’d been on tv’s The Dating Game.
When he’s not on a surf board in Santa
Monica, or riding his motorcycle or camped
out in the mountainous desert of Warner
Springs Rodney is a studio photographer.
I smiled at the audience. Bachelor 3,
if you were a food, what food would you be?
A banana. You could peel me later. What
is your favorite time? Night, it’s so alive

with sensuous mystery. A fine arts degree
from UCLA, a passing acquaintance with
Harry Callahan, I cooked Mediterranean
dishes, grew roses. My Italian loafers and
manicured nails cinched me as her choice.
The audience loved me! Yet afterwards,
a fluke made me not her choice to go out,
something behind my eyes. No red rose at
an opened door for her! Smart girl. Like
the one I picked up on the beach and drove

75 miles into the mountainous desert to
photo shoot, and rape, the girl who said
yes sir, no sir, talkative. I let her out to use
a gas station’s Ladies, the next thing I’m
in cuffs . My mother put up ten thousand
bail and I was set rape and kill
Penny Williams, Cheryl Michaels, Barbara
Heidi, to name a few. I remember names,
and mementos: panties, nylon stockings,
the 11 year old Theresa Riley I got in my car

and in a room strangled, screwed, and took
out to a landfill. The Dating Game. My long
dark wavy hair made me a cinch to win.
I never watched it in my cell or in the rec
area. Lying on my cot I saw eyes of corpses
stare past me, at nothing. Now I’m no one,
nothing, a nightmare memory to ones at my
trial. I didn’t fry in the yellow mama
or get a needle’s goodnight kiss. Bachelor
number 3, What’s your favorite time? Night.

Pete reads "The Dating Game":

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Pete confesses: "I thought it ironic that this 'human monster' not only appeared on but 'came out a winner' on this very popular TV show from the early seventies. This poem’s challenge, as with many, was what to include and what to omit. I purposely did not Google any information, but just 'went with' details I’d heard the day before, on the radio about the late Rodney Alcala."

PETER MLADINIC's fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table, is available from Better Than Starbucks Publications. An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.

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