When confronted with fatphobia, racism, misogyny, and shame each poem chooses self love, despite society's expectations of conformity.
More than just a book about one single identity Fat Girl Finishing School makes intersectionality dimensional. This is a book steeped in experience, every story is striking, powerful, and unmistakably palpable.
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From THE CIRCUS FAT LADY EULOGIZES
MARY THE ELEPHANT
In 1916, Mary the Elephant was hanged from an industrial
crane for the murder of her inexperienced trainer. While being
stripped of her ivory, it was discovered that she’d had 2 ab-
scessed teeth on the side of her face where the trainer repeatedly
struck her with the bull hook.
They’ve gone and made you a ghastly ornament
of uncontrol, Mary. Your pain overturning a whole
city atop the man who dared to handle you
like some dumb creature.
Your largesse, both your attraction and your charge.
Isn’t it something, the way these small-souled
people toss their hard-earned nickels at our feet
to marvel at our vastness,
to be in the presence of our dangerous,
to mock their fears in our content,
to provoke our great mass into motion so they can crown themselves
movers of mountains,
worshiping and damning us in 1 breath for the wonders that we are.
Their message is clear:
if you will not be small, at least make it easy to handle you.
Your anger, Mary
our anger, Mary
it reminds them of the ways we can undo them
with half the effort.
Table of Contents
Pre-Flight Prayer of a Fat Girl 1
Ode to Tracy Turnblad 5
Purple Hearts 6
What Bette Davis Made Me Do 7
Love Letter to My Body # 3: My Excuse 9
How to Become a Heretic 10
Love Letter to My Body # 7 16
Conversations with My Father in a Dunk Tank 17
Brass Knuckles 22
This is Just to Say 27
10 Honest Thoughts on Being Loved by a Skinny Boy 28
Three Heart Monty 31
Love Letter to My Body # 8: Inked 36
For Nicholas Who is So Concerned 37
Love Letter to My Body # 10 42
Padlock's Daughter 43
A Poem for Amy Winehouse 44
Glass Half Full 46
There Used to Be a Fotomat Here 48
Sunday Morning Casino Service 50
The Circus Fat Lady Eulogizes Mary the Elephant 51
Home Wrecker 53
Questions for Yoko Ono When My Love Decides We Need A Break 57
Naked Atonement 60
That Summer 62
Blood Tongue 64
Wife Material 66
The Unbearable Likeness of Being on OkCupid 68
An Open Letter to the Assistant Manager of the KFC I Visited Last Week 69
Love Letter to My Body # 14: Borrow 71
On the Bus 74
Paper Babies 77
In Which the Poet Learns to Wake Up Alone 80