Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Doll Ritual" by Daisy Fried

Doll Ritual

Spanking the bad, kissing the good ones, that’s a thrill,
poor things. Mornings I lay out all the teds and dollies
with their bald spots, coy looks, rag bodies, hysterical eyes.
Some with chewed-off noses. Some, patches where snot,
pee, has dried. The one I name Ti-Anne, my favorite, my doll
afraid of all the others, with broken eyelids supposed to flip up
stuck shut? Her I sit to one side to watch the whippings.
Her namesake, Ti-Anne (don’t ask), my best enemy (I have
lots of enemies, she’s the only one I name a doll for) has eyes
those same types of hysterical colors, changes them daily.
She licks her fingers before she tries to stick them in my eyes.
No one yells but someone sings ha ha. “Ti-Anne, Ti-Anne,”
I call, “you stink!” and you know the bad girl smashes my lunchbox
thinking it’s my face. I’m thinking about this, I see my pattern:
incitement, paralysis, incitement, paralysis. Why can’t you
ever handle what you start, little girl? See, I have never
been poor at all, except just an indigence, also
a mendacity, of heart; and the way I think it’s otherwise.

Source of the text - Daisy Fried, My Brother Is Getting Arrested Again.  Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006, p. 5.

TJB: Talky-immediate poem to watch the whippings. The child speaks & acts, smart, funny, then at “I’m thinking,” the poet realizes what it means.

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