I closed my eyes and I became her size
and I walked through Barbie’s Dream House.
A pink vanity, a large poodle named Prince,
A king sized bed with dust ruffles,
and outside, a pink convertible.
Boy – blue. Girl – pink.
And when I opened my eyes,
her head was torn off
and her body was…
somewhere ’round here.
Ahhh… right here, I picked her up,
she had nipples drawn on sloppily with a green marker
so her left nipple was higher than the right
and looking back, well,
They didn’t know what I knew,
they just locked me in my room
beat me first – shut the door,
and from behind it said
I should have gouged her eyes out too
so she wouldn’t have to
suffer the sight of reality
should her pink convertible
happen to take the wrong turn through the East Side
and she realized that the Dream House
was just a waste of space and that
the hip color was not Pink,
but every shade of gray.
I shoulda given her gray nipples out of pity
but there was only green and I thought it was good,
green nipples being more real that “no” nipples.
And I hoped and I prayed, that when I grew up,
my tits would be as big as Barbie’s.
I looked at myself,
I had nipples.
They said she was expensive,
that when they bought her,
they had to have the Dream House too,
that every little girl with a Barbie,
had Barbie’s wardrobe,
pink and blue.
So, take Barbie’s clothes off,
put on her evening gown
of gold and gold lame,
gold spiked heels at the end
of the longest legs that I’ve ever seen,
and golden hair… long straight and beautiful!
This is what I’m gonna look like when I grow up.
Ken rings the doorbell, he has on his tux,
and NOW I gotta know, yeah I gotta know now
what the executives at Mattel look like
on the top floors of their executive suites
in Downtown El Segundo and
do they wear tuxes to work?
Louie Estrada he worked at Mattel,
in the assembly line,
not the high rise no- the hangar:
Building Number Nine.
Louie Lou-I was my big sister’s friend
from the borderline of the next barrio, La Raza.
Did the men who made Barbie look
kinda like Louie,
a tough and tattooed pachuco?
Or did they look like Ken?
O thought NOT, you know-
Ken did not have a penis.
Why did they do that?
I didn’t know the words
for how I felt back then,
but I do now, see
Barbie and Ken were not real,
they were thrust in our faces as The Ideal:
big tits, long legs dream house, car, money,
and now we have:
boob jobs, lyposuction, tummy tucks AND the gym,
street hustlers, corporate hustlers, fast bucks and
the shape we’re in?
32 forms of anxiety.
Barbie and Ken were the perfect Republicans:
No nipples, and no dicks.
The birth of the Capitalist Android,
they only look human.
And I sincerely doubt, you know that
billboard on Sunset Blvd. of the Barbie Twins?
one facing tits North the other one ass South?
I sincerely doubt that that pisses them off.
Barbie opens the door,
“Ken!” she says, “Do come in.”
Ken says, “You look lovely in your gown.”
and my Daddy walk by the room short ‘n brown
‘n it makes me sad…
Twenty years of Naval dedication.
His goal? To become an Officer.
In the eighteenth year, he’s given that title.
Well, not quite “Officer”
but just a tad short of it.
“Chief Petty Officer”
Chief “Petty” Officer??
It’s not because he wasn’t white.
Nah, it’s not because he wasn’t white….
So Ken says,
“We must go, or we’ll be late for the show”
and they go,
Ken driving Barbie’s pink convertible,
they pull into the drive-in.
Barbie’s SCREAMING because
some guy dressed up like an
ugly old woman is chopping up
a beautiful young woman in the shower.
The one in the shower looks kinda like Barbie to me,
so my NEXT game is Barbie in her pink bathtub
getting chopped to pieces by Ken
in Barbie’s gold lame gown,
this time a red marker
all over her body,
and the bathtub too.
They beat me again.
They said I should respect the doll.
It wasn’t the beating that made me cry,
beating was normal, that’s where they come from.
It wasn’t the beating that made me cry.
It was the accusation of not liking the gift they gave me.
“Every little girl had a Barbie”, they said.
I did like Barbie. I loved her.
And now, I felt so sorry.
She was now to be confined to her Dream House,
where she would never step out and see my world.
She couldn’t really come out to play… she was different.
She was a woman that had never had a childhood.
I knew, that when you’re a kid,
you don’t live all by yourself
in a huge pink fucking house,
you share one room with your four brothers and sisters.
You don’t sleep alone in a king size bed with a pink canopy,
you sleep two in a twin size under a mosquito net.
Poor Barbie, she didn’t have a clue.
There was one bright light for Barbie…
a little boy down the street,
little black boy, he was sweet, he said,
“When I grow up, I’m gonna marry a girl
that look just like Barbie!”
and that made me happy…
So let’s raise a toast to those guys at Mattel,
that promise our children that life won’t be hell,
not gray, but pink, everything pink
boy – blue , girl – pink.
Please see above for audio of the poem, read by the author.