Liz Taylor’s Talents – Sean Murphy

Apocalyptic, Richard Burton proclaimed.
They would topple empires, he insisted.

(And if that’s not poetry, you can take all
the silicone from every centerfold,
and sell it to every dissolute purveyor
of pulchritude, going all the way back
to Caesar, who knew a thing or two
about excess—and how to supervise
a spectacle or oversee the final cut.)

Tits are not unlike talents: you’re born with them.
Of course, you can cultivate and refine and procure
all you want, Beauty’s still in the eye of the Beholder.

As such that lucky Dick immortalized
the archetype of an adoring gaze—as more than a handful
of prurient politicians or repressed priests
could ever fathom, with no quarter
or apology required for posterity.
Or especially what all those earnest but
wilted scribblers from a more Romantic Era
could convey, their sonnets smoldering
like moldy corsets in unread anthologies.

Sean MurphySean Murphy has appeared on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and been quoted in USA Today, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and AdAge. His work has also appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, The New York Post, and The Good Men Project. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and was the writer-in-residence at Noepe Center. He’s Founding Director of Virginia Center for Literary Arts. To learn more, please visit