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That night would set the tone for her romance with the frontman for The Four Seasons — in the 1960s, until The Beatles, the most popular band in the world. “He respectfully shook her hand.” Kirkwood thinks her mother had the misguided notion that Valli was her daughter’s ticket out of a tiny Ohio town, off the chicken farm on which they were living with Kirkwood’s grandmother and several aunts.“For me, there was nothing else,” writes Kirkwood, in her new memoir, “Big Girls Do Cry: My Love Affair with Frankie Valli” (Wise Ink Creative Publishing). Her mother had been abused as a girl and suffered from mental illness; Kirkwood’s parents had divorced when she was 4.The second section is home to Alexis Rhone Fancher, poet and photographer for this project.
Fancher’s language is polished, oiled almost: “You must pick my perversions like petals.…” Fancher, whose publications include , shifts pace from erotica shot through with flowers to a prose poem that excavates the stark truth behind a “threesome” with this line: “I see what I’m not meant to see; I am disposable, nothing more than a deep hole.” Her work goes there, to the places we might visit only in our minds. In “Rings of Fire,” with its pubescently erratic capitalization and absent punctuation, the speaker’s partner “de-rings” her in the back row of a theater.
The scene is adolescently and exquisitely erotic:…you wait to cast your own spell To pull my hand into your lap and undress it with buttery fingers Slowly slipping mine out of their silver Zuni costumes I think my favorite poem of the collection is in this third section.
April would make a beeline for Valli, and he’d scoop her up and carry her around while she nuzzled her face in his neck.
Ten years later, she’d be losing her virginity to him at a Holiday Inn. Love you.” Not long after, while still attending high school in her native Youngstown, Ohio, Kirkwood asked her mother to drive her to Akron, an hour away, where Valli had summoned her to get on the tour bus. “I’ll never forget what my mother said to him that day: ‘Take care of my daughter,’ ” Kirkwood writes.
“He was so glamorous to me, I think I could’ve met up with him at Mc Donald’s,” Kirkwood says.
He was uneducated and unsophisticated, but she adored everything about him: the way he put french fries on top of his burger and smashed it all between the buns; the gold chains and velvet suits; his diktats that she stay beautiful and never talk too much.
These photos appear hand glued to blank facing pages and offer visual spaces in which to regroup before moving on through the sections that follow.
Francesca Bell (nominated for multiple Pushcarts and published in journals such as ), opens the collection with four poems that explore love and love-making, beginning with “Familiarity” where, despite a couple’s “long-married love,” “desire throbs / like a busy signal.” Bell quickly shifts gear to a poem where sex serves as demolition, its aftermath poignantly hewn: After, you soften into sleep and slip from my body the way a person on a steep slopeloses the struggle to stop.
She told him about her newest boyfriend, Ron — another Valli doppelganger, this one married.
“April, if he’s seeing you, he probably has other girlfriends, too,” Valli told her.
“It was a very first-generation Italian-American thing,” she says. “I went blond from that moment on.” Even after a night together in Syracuse, when Valli lit a cigarette right after sex and casually said, “By the way, I think I’m going to marry my girlfriend,” Kirkwood never gave up hope that she would eventually be the one.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating