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Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Special Physiology

Say, for sake of argument
that to lighten her cares
a girl ceases altogether
to be fickle

She will stop
working too hard

She will settle her heart
into the cradle
of someone else’s
& not be aimless or scant

All dear girls linger
upon this point

At first

A girl loses
many particles over time
like any article
that can become worn out

She teases eventually
every unfrayed fiber
by use of it

On the other hand,
if she were never
to employ herself
to any end at all

her body would hang
around herself
as the sleeve hangs
on an underdeveloped arm

An ideal girl
learns or intuits
her elastic pattern
of use & ease

She will end as
she never knew she began

the daughter
of no mother but herself

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Friday, March 11, 2011

Subjects of Private Interest

The very verb

taken but with
little empathy

A rumpled promise
to a rumpled suitor

A tempt
to woo

A toe
a shoe

An arm
a lacy garment

A calf
a laugh

& to be emphatic:
never hairy!

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Our Mission to the Race

When you’re a girl
the moon belongs

There’s a song

It shows its hooks & eyes
It trembles its single number

It is rather stupid, but sweet
It steps like a barefooted boy
It never stops growling

Upon your health
its charm

You must be loose
with it, the moon

Taunt it twenty different ways
in as many days
to tax its nature

Let us see
what can be done
with a mere bald planet

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Urges in Regard to Which Girls Should Receive Especial Instruction

Regretfully I cannot let
another chapter pass
without mention
of the secret bad habits

I will be as plain as I may

handling &

in a manner not necessary
for cleanliness

rob the complexion
of rosy blood
by calling it down
toward lustier cheeks

When you notice girls
going about dead pale
with dark purplish rings
what other matter
can be blamed?

there are some girls
who claim to do it
long & often
without falling ill

But take my word:
such a female is in reality
tormented almost unto madness
by spells, deliriums
& spasms

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Some May Demur

Corsaged,the sweep of hair
back from your brow

& row upon row
of unfumbled buttons

A rescued grimness
perches on your three-quarters face

Overpreened plumage

of bouffant sleeves
& pintucked pleats

The air in the room

a drift of talcum

When the century mounts
will you complete your turn

to face it

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Monday, March 7, 2011

Besides the Dress

So this is your minimalist
dressing table

Your soundless powder

Brushes hushed
in a cracked glass

A dust

A hair listlessly

Don’t bother
to call him sir

It makes him feel old

A swipe or two toward the eyes
A strap adjusted
Lift & plump, tease

A buckle
A hook like a tooth

& most nights

how many
of you
sit in this chair
pouting at each other

crowding round your face
to see

which of you
you will choose

to clothe

to walk out

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On Thinking for Oneself

The author recommends it,
& tenders her readers
beneficent assistance by thus
beginning & concluding
this book’s briefest chapter

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pride in Having Small Feet

slimsy girls
bustled & padded

With such carriages as these
equipoise is nearly impossible

Mental beauties
open yourselves
     o   pen

Being “all used up”
every day for weeks is wrong

& doubles
the myriad feminine dangers
of nervous force

I, too,
without a word of excuse
formerly lived as an unmitigated ninny

Linger upon the chaise
of this simple lesson:

Might you unlearn
to resent the joy
the world takes in you,

to return its gaze

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Friday, March 4, 2011

No Slight Affliction, as Many a Woman Will Declare

You can carry, girls,
a little distance

your influence
to the new side

your awakened study
of formation, requirements

First then, girls, you should
fasten onto your shoulders

a strap for purpose,
for industrious earnest

pressure, for attending
to the demands of nature

Think of it
as a uniform

outside of which
you’d be too apart

All rooms have doors
& also windows

I haven’t actually
heard that said, but

a draft might come
at right angles

toward the animal
part of you,

the portion you’ve
bitten raw

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Head Needs Rather to Be Kept Cool

Situate yourself
alone for longer
than an hour apart
without speaking

The air wants words in it

The house around
adrift, surrounds
surges close

In front of the millinery
the street is spread
with late spring snow,
bristles with girls in hats

Unfold this shuttered voice

& when solitude’s good pupil
chooses unfrivolous company
endeavor to
                         bare it

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Young Lady Must

Grow your frilliest beauty
on your dearest fanny

Blow your daintiest trumpet
on your weariest wonder

& never ever let them
see you perspire


if life has not yet
made you its own trusted confidante
take heart

The world is like a girl
who rivals you in grace
& good looks

Go cautious
in your motions & she
will come around to call you friend

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Opening Address

We shall now begin
the study of girls
upon whom the universe
bestows fullness
in all the right places.

A vigorous strength
can belong to a real lady
& her natural waist.
Young men ought to be taught
to appreciate her unbound form
&exquisite mental

There is much to say
upon the body & mind
of young woman
& so I present you
47 chapters to follow
after this gentle foreword.
I will endeavor to illustrate
more delicate matters
in a manner suitable for
even the most innocent.

Here it befalls us to wonder
upon this first astonishment:
A girlhood is an extreme gift
of boobies & hips
of blossom lips &
the good sense
not to use any of them.

From For Girls (& Others), Bloof 2008

Women's History Month

A few years ago, I wrote a book "about" certain pieces of women's history, especially how Women have long been the recipients of the World's well-intentioned advice. (We need "benevolent guidance," or a "firm hand," or "a moral education," or possibly something more modern like a "makeover" or "a series of condescending blog comments explaining why our thoughts, feelings and appearance are wrong," you know.)

I think I will post a poem from it, each day in March.

If you are interested in reading more "about" it, please go here and here and here.

The advice in the book ranges in time from 1882 to the present. Here is the preface, which I stole from the antique volume that inspired (infected?) me.


     THE author of this book lays no claim to originality of subject-matter. She has nothing new to say. She does, however, claim originality upon one ground, that of making selections from the writings and teachings of others,and from observation and experience;that of culling here and there knowledge, facts, motives, ideas, and grouping them into practical form. Seeking to make the material for instruction as complete as possible, she has seized upon and appropriated anything which could contribute to the general design. She has only sought to adapt what others have said to the good of the class for whom she has written.
     She herewith submits her efforts to the common sense of her audience, and the common need of our common natures.