Friday, July 5, 2013

Retail Therapy

Sometimes, I write poems that I don't understand. I'm pretty sure this is one of them. It is also odd...really odd...and really not my typical poem. But this is what I wrote today, and it was freaking hard to write and took me forever to feel like I had it "right" enough to be shared. I'm also sure this is going to be edited and changed in the near future...but here is its current incarnation.

Current working title is "Retail Therapy"

As I walk out of the department store dressing room,
the poreless, skinless mannequins mock me with their necks.
Their toothpick thighs and kneeless legs spring into cellulite-free life and kick,
adding injury to insult as their handless arms block my path:
this, I think, is my zombie apocalypse.

I leap away, too late,
as the mannequin modeling a polka-dotted bathing suit holds me still
and the paste-toned head-and-torso shirt model
rips open my chest
pulls out my feminist heart,
raises it to her toneless lips
and devours it before I can breathe.

In a second, it is gone,
the juicy crunch and slurp turn my stomach sour
as I watch my intellect drip,
from her perfect chin.

They stare with pupil-less, judging eyes,
watch me attempt to wash away the mess with overflowing shame
and return to their posts atop the poppy red, nectarine, and grayed jade displays
of playful summer prints.

The perky sales clerk walks by unfazed
acknowledges the bloody puddle of feminism, intellect, and humiliation,
stands a yellow cone in front of the mess,
calls Rhonda on the loudspeaker for a "clean up in women's"
pretends not to smell the shame seeping from my pores
and has the audacity to ask me, smiling, if there is something she can help me find.

I consider ordering, as if from a menu,
the self-esteem platter with an extra side of self worth,
a confidence biscuit, a self-love salad,
and whatever is the antidote for shame.
When the meal comes, I'll spread out shirts like picnic blankets,
dim the lights, light some candles,
sit between the racks of skinny jeans and bikinis
and invite the mannequins to join me,
ready to dine with the skeletons from my closet.

They arrive, angry, and hungry for answers,
silent, staring, waiting:
they want my flesh.
Want me to remember the memories they wear branded on their skin
want me to release them from my histories
wrap my arms around them
bow our heads in prayer
and find an absolution.
They want meetings with folding chairs in basements;
want tokens to earn for 1 day, 5 days, 30 days clean;
want me to introduce myself as someone with a first name only
who can't manage to love
the only body she's known.

We sit in silence, as stories soak into the humid summer air.
I fold up the shirts, turn on the lights,
the mannequins return to their posts and I leave,
holding nothing in my hands.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks. I like it more today, but I still want to work on the end. I was frustrated with how to end it, so I scribbled the last stanza quickly and posted it so I could go to bed. I still can't decide what to do with it, but the end kinda feels like a cop-out. We'll see if something better comes to me.