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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


  1. Women’s History Month seems to demand a poem like this—subtly provocative, incisive yet veiled social commentary. Your choice of the phrase “soundless power” coupled with the words “brushes”, “hair”, and later “a strap adjusted”, and “lift & plump, tease,/spritz” seem to stress that this female “power” can only be obtained through the accumulation of beauty and attractiveness. The line “Don’t bother/to call him sir/It makes him feel old” is doubly compelling in that it suggests women’s so-called duty to heed all of men’s requests and desires. What’s more, the final stanza appears to (rightfully) implicate readers in the stagnancy of the struggle, and to emphasize the need for more of us to choose “to walk out.” Forgive me if this interpretation is not at all what you had in mind, but for me your poem is crucial to the understanding of the current social/sexual climate. Thank you for writing something that alerts readers that Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives—among others—are not as obsolete as one may assume.

  2. Oh I didn't see your comment before, sorry. And thank you for reading/responding.


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