Announcing the Business Foot Massage Poetry Competition, Suckas

Hey there folks. Over here at the Greyhound Collective Poetry Revival we’re having ourselves a little friendly competition because that’s what poets do when they’re bored. What you will find is 8 submissions below, each coming from a GCPR member or alumni. We challenged the poets to write a poem beginning with the line “It was a business foot massage” because we’re quirky and shit. Below we’ve included a poll for y’all (the readers) to vote on which poem you like the best – all under the veil of anonymity so no playing favorites, folks. We will announce a winner on April 1, in celebration of the magical, mystical, whimsical National Poetry Month. Winner gets a business foot massage and eternal bragging rights. Losers will give said foot massage and receive eternal shame.

Please vote. And do so only once.

Poems were submitted by GCPR members Annie Furnald, Leya Burns, Sarah Nielsen and Petra Nanney and GCPR alumni Jerry Fagerberg, April Nicotera, Cathryn Dutton and Eve-a Strillacci.

Poetry Contest Submission 8

Heels Against the Earth

It was a business foot massage, Peter will tell the women later,
fingers curling as if in memory of the Lord’s thumbs, kneading

the flesh of his arch like bread, which, if you recall, he’d always
been rather good with. I told him ‘no,’ I told him ‘wash my hands
instead,’ but the Lord does what he wants. Well, he did…
The women are silent and expecting. They will take crumbs,

they will lathe his feet with their tongues if he asks them, but
will not do as he did, sweep the rise of him, press the doughy
mounds beneath his toes, search out the place that pushes women
into labor. Peter will say, I divined him being born in me. He was

mine, and I carried him with a terrible lightness of being. A carpenter
has strong hands. I felt like dancing as I had not done for years.

The women want to dance, to crash their heels against the earth,
and sing, too, a meteoric grief dwindling into dust. But Peter

sways like a reed, feels cool water clouding up through his hollow
of a body: once a vessel, no longer an alembic. Somehow love

smothers in when there is nothing left to carry.

Poetry Contest Submission 7

It was a business foot massage
That pulled me
                Kicking and screaming
Into her arms.
                I am a birth-bred
                                                Empty trough
And she let me siphon off some of her
                Acrid, stinging hatred.
“How are you, Ms. Johnson? Is there anything
                I can help with?”
It was my mantra.
                My motto.
I spoke the same words softly
                Every day.
                The sun rose without me,
                Forgetting that I was in
                                Some office.
                                                And thinking
                                                                And waiting
While I filed her papers and pressed my clammy
                Flaccid hands all over her
Life’s hollow passion.
                She never approved of my
                Heady attempts to please
She was twelve steps away from the wagon
                That she would never get within
                Ten feet of.
While I was kissing ass and
                Making paychecks,
That darling dear
                Held fingers toward the sun
                And sucked crystals out
                Of the gleaming sky and smoggy world
                And wondered where yesterday
                Had faded away to.
She came in from the cold once
                Raindrops skating down her cheeks
                Euphoric tears of a world spinning
                Dizzy and unhelpful
                Her hair clung to her face
                And her dark and empty eyes
                                Peeled like grapes and shining
She said she was embarrassed by me
                That my fingernails grew every time I lied
                And that pink clouds followed me around
                Like heavy scoops of sherbert.
I let her rant.
                Ms. Johnson might have been out
                To lunch
                But I was still rubbing her bony
                Feet and taking in the smells
                Of success and money and between-toes lint.
She thought of me as a maid
                A servant
                                A life-size doll with glass eyes
                I drank every word she said in double shooters
                                Letting my heavy cerebellum walk
                                Drowning with words and love
                And the need to be
                                Someone different.
She talked for a long time while the brilliancy dimmed
                From the western sky and the shafts of light
                Were flooding out instead of in
                And she was framed by the skyline of a city not yet born.
“And that’s why,” she concluded
                Her voice frantic and all clawed up from
                The inside.
“That’s why I hate you.”

Poetry Contest Submission 6

Business Foot Massage
It started as a business foot massage
in the brutal heat of December
sweat permeated his palms
setting around a tanline on one of his fingers
his shaky hands dial a known number to mention
“i’ll be home late”
and climb from pinky toe to ankle
peeling back the black stockings
she put on to make his eyes linger.
It was an amiable intercourse
the desk stained with espresso and lack of stamina
he pictured her differently, not as she was lying now
in his fantasy she wears black lace
the more she struggled, the closer they became
until she could feel the hollow near his hips
the blood rushing south
in hers he’s coming home, retiring his hat and shoes
for a kiss on the cheek and a hot meal.
It was a cordial copulation
no tears from either party
just tousled hair and flushed cheeks.
in his fantasy they were fucking
in hers they were making love.

Poetry Contest Submission 5


It was a business foot massage.
I stripped your
sweat-loving socks
over your freshly-
filed toenails
and fought to tame
my flustered mind.
There’s no point in denying
I wanted to feel your
Between my
To fondle your
and follow the flesh
of your underfoot.
Strictly business?
I couldn’t if I tried.

Poetry Contest Submission 4


it was a business foot
massage, all elated business with some residual guilt,
like sunday school, like secrets.

the memories are these:
red polishthe
darkness, suddenstopping laughter
the way that it was painful
to think about:
a cut on the upper lip,
the way it
stings when you eat something
sour or

business, it was called,
and business was
(when it wasn’t sharp or
but the order, the chron
ology of it
was misshapen, unfixed
uncertain what parts were
toes or knees or chest
or mouthorhips

holding memories like a clock

to his chest to remind
it the right way to beat:

da dum. da dum.

“all business,” he muttered.
her laugh in the

small circles,
lungs heart waist
lower back,
hazy smiles like their mouths were floating
a fraction above their skin—

she hadn’t ever done this before,
she said, his hands on her
arches as he tried
to imagine her without any
skin. maybe she would offer him a
warm and dark
she fell back and he fell
smallcircles, uncertain, allbusiness.

Poetry Contest Submission 3

Nude Heels

it was a business foot massage
the busboy told himself
wiping the slick from his palms
this is when the callouses slipped
from the Matre D’s nude heels
pushed through the stocking
a thumb pressed to each
him, kneading

and he watched her thigh disappear
into the inviting dark of her pencil skirt
a flash of fabric
white, lace
the way fabric smiles when dampened

this is when his face turned away
and he cupped both her arches
tried to focus on her tarsals
worked his knuckles
into hers
like she wasn’t a woman
like he was counting out change

this is when the Matre D’ took over
this is when the pins were pulled
and when the hair fell
fingers clamped on the cold metal
her nude heels
arched in his nervous hands
her wedding ring
spun lonely on the cutting board
her, needing