In the Days of Early Polyester

Jul 20, 2015



“in the days of early polyester”
by Celeste Gainey


you don’t know yet you are flammable;
jars of Miracle Whip, tubs of Polly-O in the fridge.
Your moral imperative on ice, the vertical blinds rattling shut,
sleek sofa of solid kerosene resisting your body’s impression.
You keep saying, Cotton, cotton, the touch, the feel of cotton,
but you are drawn to the slinky boy shirt with the Kandinsky-like
print, fancy your stubbled sideburns whiskering
the top of its Byronesque collar—long points gesturing toward
no-tits torso, slim hips, bell-bottomed legs, Frye boots.
It feels like Velveeta against your skin, something you might
scrape off with the blade of your Swiss Army knife.
It seems to reject you. Still, you can’t stop
parading your shirt through Washington Square Park
in the hot afternoon sun—looking for combustion.




“in the early days of polyster”
The Gaffer by Celeste Gainey
Red Hen Press
Publication: March 2015
ISBN: 9780989036122
Price: $18.95




Celeste Gainey is the author of the chapbook In the land of speculation & seismography (Seven Kitchens Press, 2011), runner-up for the 2010 Robin Becker Prize. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in BLOOM, 5AM, and Columbia Poetry Review. Gainey has spent over thirty-five years working with light as a gaffer for motion pictures and as an architectural lighting designer, which she reflects upon in her debut collection of poetry the GAFFER (Red Hen Press, 2015).






Red Hen publications are supported in part by the Red Hen Press Benefit Champagne Luncheon, Red Hen’s largest fundraiser of the year held annually at The Westin Pasadena. This year’s 21st Benefit will celebrate Red Hen’s 21 years in publishing, and highlight Red Hen’s vibrant tradition in the literary community with performances from local school children, a silent auction and raffle, and readings by acclaimed authors Brian Turner, Amy Bloom, and Major Jackson.

Red Hen Press 21st Benefit Champagne Luncheon
Sunday, November 8th, 11 a.m.
The Westin, 191 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena
For more info, visit
Or email


More books by Red Hen…









Photo, vertical blinds, top right, by Anderson Mancini (Flickr: Curtains) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.


Photo, Washington Square Park, New York City, by (WT-shared) SHC (Taken by (WT-shared) SHC on July 26, 2006) [CC BY-SA 1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.


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