The Barbie Poems 4
By @mdgoodyear, @papagoodyear, @llbarkat, @memoriaarts, @arestlessheart, @lauraboggess, @cascheller, @mattpriour, @PoemsPrayers, @KathleenOverby, @togetherforgood, @gyoung9751, @mmerubies, @jamesrls, @doallas, @Dancinbutterfly, @moondustwriter, @mxings, @Jezamama, @MarisaLopezzz, and @TchrEric; cameo appearances by @hiscrivener and @duane_scott; edited by @gyoung9751
Barbie Goes Shopping
I do not understand shopping, but
I understand the promise of every
store, every unopened toy and its
hours of expected play. Shopping
is for depressed people to pretend
they have money to be like Barbie
and buy pink cars and beefcake
They had to protect me. Travel was
difficult. Me, the Barbie in the
land of veils.
Barbie in Japan
What have we done to our mothers,
horrified by breasts and factories,
sexuality, topknots, and Japanese workers?
Topknots of wrestlers, honor squats to win
the beauty pageant no matter what.
Would that I had a home to assemble me, or
a factory to tie my plastic Saran strands and
Rising from the deep toxic waters of pollution,
ready to destroy Tokyo in her rage,
she was Godzilla with blond hair and high heels.
Iconically American, Barbie was made in Japan,
Japan, where all our icons come from, an
American image to the world, an American
image made in Japan. And Barbie needed assembly;
she was yet unformed, and they missed a few parts too.
Mother was horrified when Ken
ran away on vacation with
my little pony in a pink cadillac, leaving
his blonde Barbie in Japan, American
icon with broken fingers, bubbled nose,
White middle class perfection assembled
across an ocean, creating, offering an
image to the world of the American woman.
Barbie, defining the 1950s;
GI Joe defining the 1960s (Barbie
went to a psychedelic party in
1968 in Soho but felt sadly
out of place);
Luke Skywalker defining the 1970s.
I bought a friend Barbie and Ken as
Elvis and Priscilla. But I drool over
Wicked Witch Barbie.
Was Mary Kay really a
Barbie in diguise,
Barbie in disguise with diamonds
Taylor Swift is the new Barbie.
Barbie had culture, but not enough.
Barbie was culture, but not enough.
How can one doll inspire so much
emotion, from devotion
to rage and back again?
My Barbie head is spinning – model,
Too many worlds for me,
too many words for me,
to kick start a conversation,
words quivering on the cliffs of
Barbie may seem like the perfect
woman but she does nothing. She
has no womb – not even a barren
one to mourn.
Mother bought me the cheap
Barbie rip-off, hard plastic and
not near as sexy. I had the Barbie
rip-off, too, for a while, till I
convinced my mother to let me
have the one with the beautiful
long hair, the one choked with
frigidity, the boa wrapped around
her neck, feathers everywhere,
stitched together, disguised, disgusted,
never knowing her own heart or
mind inside the plastic skull.
Beauty needs breathing room, and
she peddled beauty; forget the love.
We boys had our ripoffs, clunky lego-like
bricks that refused to click together into a
chair for Barbies bare end. My brothers
had cap-guns and microscopes; no perfect
dolly to yearn for.
Barbie Has No Feelings
Barbie has no feelings;
she can not even dress herself,
Too many chemicals from over
the ocean, broken down icons of
a country, a culture, a girlhood
She was born with a runny nose
(do you need a tissue?) with
I bet Barbie never had to
face the shrieking eels
or make her way through the
Jacob wrestled with God;
Barbie wrestled with her hair.
Her nourishment was poison, self
worth broken down, and the
wrestling wears down
at the source.
Barbie is still inside me on days like,
one last week, when
I had a bra fitting and discovered
I have been wearing the wrong size.
Gut wrench still happens to my
Stomach, friendless in roomful of
Barbies, perkiness perfected.
gut wrench changed when Barbie
found hearts. Now,
I do not play with Barbie, but I do
still wish to be her, if I am not
careful to keep my head above the
clouds and in God.
Barbie as Archetype
Dad was a janitor; I had Dawn dolls,
had a Chrissie doll too,
beautiful Chrissi with the
hair like I Dream of Genie.
My favorite doll was made to
look like a real newborn.
I called him Jacob.
We had paper dolls cut
from the JCPenney catalog.
I loved making paper dolls and
dressing them in paper clothes.
I still do that now, but with my
words and my pen and sometimes a
I thought she was pretty, in
need of rescue, and I coveted a
Ken doll. He would not endure
her torture; she had a hole in
her hand where the diamond went.
She lost the match to every single
pair of shoes.
Dawn dolls were smaller and
cheaper; I loved them just the
same, dressed them up and
dreamed of wearing gowns.
I never coveted Barbie or her body.
My sister wanted to play baby-dolls.
So boring, I thoughtbut wouldn’t
say, who cares about Baby Alive?
Baby food dripping down her chin while
Barbie shines, Barbie sparkles.
I spent so much time trying to make
Barbie bend, then just sat there
looking in her eyes, wondering why.
I had Baby Alive. Why did we want a
doll that could not hold a meal? It went
right through her. She had no rolls to kiss.
They made a Jack Ryan doll? The things you
miss in the sticks.
When Barbie found Jack Ryan, and Jack
Ruan found Jack Bauer,
they were all lost.
In the sticks, I mean.
- Poets and Poems: Laura Mullen and “After I Was Dead” - January 24, 2023
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- Poets and Poems: Nancy Murphy and “The Space Carved by the Sharpness of Your Absence” - January 13, 2023