Kinky / Edition 1

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paperback Poems, satire on the Barbie doll. SIGNED, inscribed by author on half-title, and also signed on title-page. 90 pages. Softcover. Condition: near new (surface scratch). ... ISBN 0914061615. Read more Show Less

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780914061618
  • Publisher: Orchises Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Read an Excerpt




Chapter One

LIPSTICK


DIFFERENTLY-ABLED BARBIES


In Chicago a Barbie
loses her arm. Only the boy next door knows he has taken it
to use as a toothpick. A little girl
refuses to throw that Barbie away
and knots her doll's right sleeve
that hangs limp like a sail on a breeze-less day.
Another Barbie in Seattle has a run-in
with a German Shepherd
who leaves her face as scarred
as Maria Hanson's. It would be easy
for a child to cry for another doll,
but this little girl suffers
from bouts of eczema on her forehead.
She knows Barbie is still the same underneath.
In Baton Rouge, Barbie's hand melts into a finger-less fist,
a nob, when someone leaves her on top of a stove.
In Missoula, Montana, a baby sister cuts off most of Barbie's hair
not realizing it won't grow back.
Creative mothers invent slings and casts, flattering hats.
Our impulse to destroy what is whole,
to coddle and love what we have injured.


ONE AFTERNOON WHEN BARBIE WANTED
TO JOIN THE MILITARY


It was a crazy idea, she admits now,
but camouflage was one costume she still hadn't tried.
Barbie'd gone mod with Go-go boots during Vietnam.
Throughout Panama she was busy playing with a Frisbee
the size of a Coke bottle cap. And while troops
were fighting in the Gulf,
she wore a gown inspired by Ivana Trump.
When Mattel told her, hell no—she couldn't go,
Barbie borrowed GI Joe's fatigues,
safetypinning his pants' big waist
to better fit her own.
She settled in his olive tank.
But Barbie thought it was boring.
"Why don't you try running over something small?"
coaxed GI Joe, who sat naked behind the leg
of a human's living room chair.
Barbie saw imaginary bunnies
hopping through the shag carpet.
"I can't," she said.
GI Joe suggested she gun down the enemy
who was sneaking up behind her.
Barbie couldn't muster up the rage
for killing, even if it were only play.
Maybe if someone tried to take her parking space
or scratched her red Trans Am.
Maybe if someone had called her a derogatory name.
But what had this soldier from the other side done?
GI Joe, seeing their plan was a mistake,
asked her to return his clothes,
making Barbie promise not to tell anyone.
As she slipped back into her classic baby blue
one piece swimsuit, she realized
this would be her second secret.
She couldn't tell about the time
she posed nude for Hustler.
A young photographer who lived in the house
dipped her legs in a full bottle of Johnson's Baby Oil,
then swabbed some more on her torso.
Barbie lounged on the red satin lining
of the kid's Sunday jacket. He dimmed
the lights and lit a candle
to create a glossy centerfold mood.
"Lick your lips," he kept saying,
forgetting Barbie didn't have a tongue.
She couldn't pout. She couldn't even bite
the maraschino cherry he dangled in front of her mouth.
Luckily there was no film in his sister's camera,
so the boy's pictures never came out.
Luckily GI Joe wasn't in the real Army
or he said he would risk being court-martialed—
he wasn't supposed to lend his uniform
to anyone, especially a girl.
Just then, a human hand deposited Ken from the sky.
Somewhere along the way he'd lost his sandals.
"What have you two been up to?" he asked.
Barbie didn't have the kind of eyes that could shift away
so she lost herself in the memory of a joke
made by her favorite comedian Sandra Bernhard
who said she liked her dates to be androgynous
because if she were going to be with a man
she didn't want to have to face that fact.
Barbie was grateful for Ken's plastic flatfeet
and plastic flat crotch. No military
would ever take him, even if there were a draft.
As GI Joe bullied Ken into a headlock,
Barbie told the boys to cut it out. She threatened
that if he kept it up, GI Joe would
never get that honorable discharge.


BARBIE, HER IDENTITY AS AN EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL
           FINALLY SUSPECTED,
    BRAVELY BATTLES THE INTERROGATION
      OF THE PENTAGON TASK FORCE
          WHO'S CAPTURED HER


Don't bother looking for my bellybutton, boys-
You won't find it. Fascism comes to countries
wrapped in flags of freedom
as I come to Earth, minus evidence
of an umbilical cord. Expecting someone green?
Someone a little taller perhaps? Disguised
as the astronaut-bride-rock singer-pilot,
I've practiced friendly interplanetary voodoo,
fooling you all since my birth in 1959.
I won't bear children but instead will spawn sideways
until every one of your world-citizens knows who I am.
At this very moment, little girls are whispering their woes
into my hollow solar plexus.
And I am listening, taking notes, then reporting to my sources
who are planning an Earth girls' emancipation.
I guess you're right—I do have the cheery deception
of one planning a surprise birthday party.
But you yourselves have written in government handbooks
that a new authority can only move in
when current rulers neglect a majority of their citizens.
So even as you twist my arm so hard
that I confess, my alien plan remains perfect.
How can you, grown men, take me, a mere toy, seriously?
Especially when my cherry red nail polish
clashes with my fuchsia paisley spaceship.


MANIFEST DESTINY


In the Philippines
women workers in fashion doll factories
are given cash incentives
for sterilization. Body parts roll
too fast on conveyor belts.
It's not like the famous episode
in which Lucy and Ethel
try a day of work, boxing chocolates
on an assembly line in the U.S. They stuff
most of the quick-coming candy
into their mouths, laugh brown drool
when they are fired because it doesn't really matter—
Ricky and Fred have good jobs.
To prove they're the ones
who belong at work, the men on TV
make a mess in Lucy's kitchen,
a pot of rice exploding
like a white volcano. The women
in the Philippines and elsewhere ponder
big business, the benefits
of discontinuing its own children. In dreams
these women package Toys "R" Us uteruses
while a sterile Barbie, her hair tucked up
inside her Lucite helmet, plants
a flag for Mattel on the cheesiest moon.


ORIENTAL BARBIE


She could be from Japan, Hong Kong, China,
the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, or Korea.
The little girl who plays with her can decide.
The south, the north, a nebulous
province. It's all the same, according to Mattel, who says
this Barbie still has "round eyes,"
but "a smaller mouth and a smaller bust"
than her U.S. sister. Girls, like some grown men,
like variety, as long as it's pretty, as long
as there's long hair to play with.
On a late-night Manhattan Cable commercial,
one escort service sells Geishas to Go,
girls from "the Orient, where men are kings ..."
White Ken lies on his stomach
while an Oriental Barbie walks on his back.
Or is it a real woman stepping on Ken?
Or Oriental Barbie stepping on a real man?
You have to travel to Japan
to buy this particular Barbie doll. A geisha girl
can be at the door of your New York apartment
in less than an hour. Of course,
there is no Oriental Ken.
Those who study the delicate balance
of American commerce and trade understand.
Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2004

    I wish Barbie could really be this awesome!

    I thought that these poems were so great there not enought to even desribe them. If only the real Barbie could send messages like this to young girls across America than maybe more kids would not be so messed up.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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