Monday, March 13, 2023

Charles Rammelkamp


The act I was best known for?
Probably the dance I performed
with my boa constrictors, Elmer and Oscar.

My snake charmer friend Anand
gave them to me when we worked together
at the Zorro Garden Nudist Colony,
in San Diego, where I’d fled at seventeen.

Born Kathryn Boyd in Youngstown, Ohio,
adopted by a strict Methodist couple in Chicago,
I was working as a manicurist in the Loop
when a client told me I could make extra money
stripping at stag parties.
I was fifteen, but I had a full figure.

At Zorro Garden, the women went topless,
G-strings covering our cooches,
the men in loincloths, all of us “natural.”
Customers watched us from bleacher seats,
or they could stare for free through knotholes in the fence.
It’s where I got my name, Zorita.
I added a tongue and a tail to either end of the Z
when I signed autographs for fans.

I took Elmer and Oscar with me back to Toledo,
where I developed my act at the Kentucky Club.
One dance I called “Half and Half,” half my body
dressed as a groom, the other a bride,
each side undressing the other,
leading to the “wedding night romp.”
In another, an invisible spider undressed me
while I danced before a rhinestone-covered web.

But it was “The Consummation of the Wedding of the Snake”
that was my most famous – the one that got me in trouble –
stripping while holding one of my eight-foot boas.
I got six months in prison for that one,
snakebit by the local cops for “indecent exposure.”

Charles's YouTube video reading of "Venom":

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Charles confesses: "How much more biblical can you get? Nudity, a snake, a garden. Talk about 'original sin.' A story in the August 16, 1941 Toledo Blade credited Zorita’s 'undraped gyrations' with the creation of a police squad assigned solely to the night clubs. But Zorita got the last laugh. Known to walk her snakes around on leads, she ended her days in Florida raising Persian cats."

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP's A Magician Among the Spirits, a collection of poems about Harry Houdini, is a 2022 Blue Light Press Poetry winner and has just been published. A collection of flash fiction, Presto!, will be published in 2023 by Bamboo Dart Press. Another poetry collection entitled Transcendence has been published by BlazeVOX Books.

1 comment:

Qumox said...

This Poem I like;)