Friday, April 23, 2010

Two Poems by Denise Duhamel

Hippie Barbie

Barbie couldn't grasp the concept
of free love. After all, she was born
into the world of capitalism
where nothing is free. And all she had
to choose from was a blond or dark-haired Ken
who looked exactly like Midges's boyfriend Alan.
Ken wouldn't even get bell-bottoms
or his first psychedelic pantsuit
until it was way too late, sometime in the mid-seventies.
And then, whenever Barbie tried to kiss him
his peel-off lamb-chop sideburns loosened
and stuck to her cheeks. There were no black male dolls yet
so she guessed a mixed-race love-child
was out of the question. Barbie walked her poodle
past the groovy chicks who showed their bellybuttons
and demonstrated against the war. She couldn't
make a peace sign with her stuck-together fingers.
She felt a little like Sandra Dee at a Janis Joplin concert.

Buddhist Barbie

- for Nick

In the 5th century B.C.
an Indian philospher Gautama
teaches "All is emptiness"
and "There is no self."
In the 20th century A.D.
Barbie agrees, but wonders how a man
with such a belly could pose,
smiling, and without a shirt.

Denise Duhamel (b.1961) has spent some time writing for stand-up comedians and she lists Rosanne Barr and Lucille Ball as inspirations. She is the winner of an NEA Fellowship.


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