...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

February 02, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Action figures have been in the news recently, so i selected this week's poem accordingly. You may recall that Barbie used to go out with a guy named Ken (That was before she started seeing G.I. Joe, of course.) Barbie and Ken were a cute couple, and Ken was a real doll. But they had their struggles, just like any two lovers. i hear they once toyed with the idea of marriage, but as their relationship soured, eventually they had to call it quits. Some say Ken was gay, and i don't know if that is true or not, but the following poem shows that they had other issues too.


They decide to exchange heads.
Barbie squeezes the small opening under her chin
over Ken's bulging neck socket. His wide jaw line jostles
atop his girlfriend's body, loosely,
like one of those novelty dogs
destined to gaze from the back windows of cars.
The two dolls chase each other around the orange Country Camper
unsure what they'll do when they're within touching distance.
Ken wants to feel Barbie's toes between his lips,
take off one of her legs and force his whole arm inside her.
With only the vaguest suggestion of genitals,
all the alluring qualities they possess as fashion dolls,
up until now, have done neither of them much good.
But suddenly Barbie is excited looking at her own body
under the weight of Ken's face. He is part circus freak,
part thwarted hermaphrodite. And she is imagining
she is somebody else-- maybe somebody middle class and ordinary,
maybe another teenage model being caught in a scandal.

The night had begun with Barbie getting angry
at finding Ken's blow up doll, folded and stuffed
under the couch. He was defensive and ashamed, especially about
not having the breath to inflate her. But after a round
of pretend-tears, Barbie and Ken vowed to try
to make their relationship work. With their good memories
as sustaining as good food, they listened to late-night radio
talk shows, one featuring Doctor Ruth. When all else fails,
just hold each other, the small sex therapist crooned.
Barbie and Ken, on cue, groped in the dark,
their interchangeable skin glowing, the color of Band-Aids.
Then, they let themselves go-- Soon Barbie was begging Ken
to try on her spandex miniskirt. She showed him how
to pivot as though he was on a runway. Ken begged
to tie Barbie onto his yellow surfboard and spin her
on the kitcen table until she grew dizzy. Anything,
anything, they both said to the other's requests,
their mirrored desires bubbling from the most unlikely places.

By Denise Duhamel, a modern writer who some have called a "feminist poet." Although i don't think she objects to being placed in that pigeonhole, her poetry is often very funny and worthy of a wide audience.

Posted by annika, Feb. 2, 2005 |
Rubric: Poetry


The last line is superb. Love it.

Posted by: Hugo on Feb. 2, 2005

Where DO you find this stuffffff?

Posted by: Casca on Feb. 3, 2005

Hilarious, and yet, also weirdly touching.

Posted by: Dave J on Feb. 3, 2005