Blame it on the Chiffons / Rumble – by PATTI SULLIVAN

Scroll down to content



Or maybe it was the Ronettes
or just that Wall of Sound that made me do it
pushed me across the dance floor

my hand reached up, tapped Joanne’s shoulder
to cut in on a ladies choice slow dance

never mind that they had been a couple
all the way back to the sixth grade
it had been nothing but Joanne and Danny forever

I didn’t care and ignored her angry look

she of the in crowd, leader of her pack
she of every outfit just right
with shoes and purse to match

shaking that dark mane of teased hair she mouthed NO
then finally saw I was not going away
she unclenched herself from him

as I slipped ungracefully into her vacated spot
feeling his sweaty palm on my back
we sort of glided there for a minute or so

the song was “Will You Still Love me Tomorrow”
or maybe it was “Baby I’m Yours”
it was over too fast and I had to give him back

her friends could glare all they wanted
I’m now standing a bit taller and stronger
since he had sort of danced with me

more like a quick jostle around the floor
it brought me that much closer to Shangri-La
nothing could hurt me now since he’d been mine.




On entering freshman year at high school
some of the girls practiced B.Y.O.B.F. (bring your own boy-friend)
others had the far-sightedness to date older men
so they had their boyfriends waiting for them after junior high

I was just another invisible girl to ignore or laugh at
finally catching someone’s attention, he wasn’t the one I wanted
so that first dating round was all practice till the real deal came along

I’d gotten a ride home from the dance with my friend’s mom
when the unmistakable sound and smell of boy-car
pulled up in front of my house and idled in the driveway
that guy I’d had my eye on had followed me home
my mom stepped out onto the porch saying come inside now

my friend’s mother gave the car a look to kill
they wanted to nip this romance in the bud
but it takes more than moms to keep teenage forces from colliding

if he’d been on the football team or part of the class council
instead of a nobody maybe they would have welcomed him differently
but then only a streetwise wanna-be hood could be so irresistible to me

later I would finally have my taste of that teenaged two-step
sweet tuck-n-rolled slow dance of a mixed cocktail
mingled in the dark with English Leather, Marlboro’s, Zippo lighters
and over-heated engines.




Patti Sullivan’s books include, For the Day,  Not Fade Away, and At The Booth Memorial Home for Unwed Mothers 1966.Poems appear in Solo Novo,  Lummox, ARTLIFE, and Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workplace. She assists with Corners of the Mouth, Poetry at the Steynberg and the Annual San Luis Obispo Poetry Festival curated by Kevin Patrick Sullivan. She is also a visual artist with several book covers to her credit and group and solo exhibits.



3 Replies to “Blame it on the Chiffons / Rumble – by PATTI SULLIVAN”

  1. Precise details that take us right into that time, that place, feeling what your Narrator is feeling as the poems unfold. Nice work!


    1. Thanks Jayne. These were junior high and early high school true stories morphed into a jumble of memory all before it got way too ugly and serious!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: