The Tyranny of the Mirror

Mood: exiting stage left | Drinking: tea, naturally

tyranny

In honor of the impending neuroses of swimsuit season, I have a six-part poem for you…

The Tyranny of the Mirror

earth suit
Sometimes I forget how to lie
to myself
how to steely stare down
my mirror eye
and convince my reflection
she is good enough,
she is smart enough,
and goddammit, people
like her.

Some days I forget that what I see
doesn’t matter.
That what is housed invisibly within,
floating somewhere between bones and skin,
is more everlasting than its cage.

thick around the middle
I think about my body
every day.
Make lists
of unsatisfactory parts.
Measuring
with no joy
the increasing distance
between hands
spaced on either side
of my waist.

I remember when
muffin tops
were just delicious
and bore no correlation
to shame.

grande y bonita
For weeks now, the Mexican man
behind the counter at the Shell station
has been flirting.

He woos me with free fountain sodas
and appreciative stares.

Finally today he asks if I have a boyfriend
and shakes his head in dismay
when I reply.

“When I come to America, I dream
of meeting girl like you,”
he says, looking up to meet my eyes.
“Strong. Big. Beautiful.”

I blush and pay for my Diet Coke
and all the way home, wonder if “big”
can be construed to mean “tall.”

skinny jeans
The “Diet for Dummies”
costs $40 to download
and I pay the price
without blinking,
print out the menu
that reads “broiled halibut”
and “carrot sticks,”
dream of slimming body image
solutions while couching
in sweat pants, munching
white cheddar Cheez-Its.

cell memory
Just because you wear new skin
than you did 2,556 days ago
does not mean the old you
has been forgotten.

Cell memory gets passed down
from regeneration to regeneration.
The new cells are born with collective
knowledge and an inferiority complex.

What you focus on the most is remembered,
is held within muscles,
whispered from vein to vein.
Even the smallest of cells knows
exactly how much you hate yourself.

seven years of bad luck
Somehow the tyranny of the mirror
remains through the ages unbroken,
undiminished by intelligence
weight loss
and the compliments of lovers.

Seven years ago I thought I was fat,
posing for pictures with a cheek-pinching
smile, stomach sucked
concave. Now I see

what that girl never could,
that she was traffic-stopping,
jaw-dropping, heart-popping
gorgeous.

But standing sideways before the glass,
I think that seven years is a long time –
things grow. sag. wrinkle.
To find this woman beautiful,
I will need seven more.

*****

-Lo, whose bikini days are behind her.

Barbie Girl

barbieMood: Industrious
Drinking: Sweet tea

A little body-image black humor on a lovely spring afternoon:

36. 18. 33.

Even Barbie thinks she’s fat
worries about the wideness of
her molded Mattel hips
tries to arrange her doll parts
into the most attractive combinations
while driving her pink convertible
past Ken’s house.

Every time Barbie catches a glimpse
of herself in the tinfoil mirror
she thinks her Twist n’ Turn stomach
looks bloated, imagines new dimples
on her soft vinyl thighs, tosses
synthetic gold tresses off her shoulder
and wonders if her makers
will go up a cup size.

In the right light, her frigid pink smile looks insecure.
She’s convinced Skipper is made of better plastic
and envies her youthful complexion.

Even Barbie thinks she’s fat,
so you will never be small enough.

*****

This one was inspired by my new pal Jim, who collects Barbie dolls. After seeing photos of his impressive (and expensive) collection, I started thinking about my own Barbie experience… My mom wouldn’t buy me a Barbie doll, but my cousin Becky gave me one of hers after half of its hair fell out.

Then I remembered these photos I took of my childhood Barbie after I found her in a box in my Mom’s attic. I remember a puppy gnawing on her face, but I don’t know when her arms fell off. I took a few nude Barbie photos before throwing her away.

But I got all nostalgic last week and did a search on ebay for the 1976 Ballerina Barbie and found myself a replacement, complete with tutu and toe shoes, with the wee golden crown molded right into her cranium. I have no idea what I’ll do with her when she arrives.

All this Barbie talk is weird. So many people have such violent opinions about a bit of plastic and vinyl. Here. Check out a more philosophical Barbie poem — the famous “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy.

Did you know that (accd. to wikipedia) if Barbie were a real woman, her measurements would be a ridiculous 36″, 18″, 33″? Crazy, I know. Hence the title of my little ditty…

On to less scandalous topics. I am not a 2008 Mastermind. Disappointing, but not surprising given the high caliber of my 14 fellow finalists. You can’t win ’em all. But I have to say the “party” that SF Weekly threw at Mojito was pretty lame. “Artopia” it was not. Somebody over there needs a lesson in how to do an artist shindig up right!

Speaking of doing it up right, Shel and I are almost finished with cinépoem #19 (holy cow!). “Strange” just needs a few more visual tweaks, and our brand new composer, Aaron Purvis, is mixing up the final score. That’s right, we’re debuting an original score for this one. Movin’ up to the big time. I think you’ll all dig it.

And that’s about it for today. Be safe, be well, and don’t be too hard on Barbie. She thinks she’s fat, poor thing!

-Lo, who thinks an 18″ waist must be kind of painful to achieve.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started