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.

Pink.

Everything Pink.

Boy – blue. Girl – pink.

Everything…

Everything …

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,

that’s accurate.

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

something about…

Equus.

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”

“Petty”

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.

Everything…

Everything Pink.

 

Please see above for audio of the poem, read by the author.

 

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Poet YVONNE DE LA VEGA was born and raised in Los Angeles, her work literally embodying the diverse spirit of the city. Her voice is one of social consciousness, personal mythos, cultural compassion and pockmarked humor. She often hails the beauty she finds in most every aspect of life, be it in the backyard of a suburban neighborhood, the winding roads of Mulholland Drive or in the eyes of a homeless person heralding prophesies from the corner of Hollywood and Highland. Her own past includes the loss of her family at a very young age which she claims was crucial, stating that "poets are given a very heavy dose of life experience in order to fulfill their life's purpose, which is to transpose their tragedies or circumstances using the spoken and written word to reach others, those in need of a similar healing." She concludes that, like a true shaman (to quote Robert Graves), "poets are born and not made", relating that even if one person out of an audience of one hundred comes forward to thank her or her fellow poets for their message, then their work is done.

Yvonne has recorded spoken word projects with numerous great names in the music and recording industry, including tracks produced by Ray Manzarek of The Doors, being the only female poet Manzarek has ever consented to produce and accompany. She features on Jump Street with Herb Alpert, (A&M Records) a spoken word and hip hop single that showcases her poetry with Alpert's music which won a Grammy in 1992. She appears on Malcolm McClaren's Round The Outside, Round The Outside album (Virgin Records), with a poem by Garcia Lorca. She has also appeared on several spoken word recordings that producer Harvey Kubernik produced for New Alliance Records, her recording peers consisting of Amiri Baraka, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman and others.

Yvonne de la Vega is currently working on her forthcoming collection of poetry, Tommorrow, Yvonne and currently hosts BTR's WordBeat, a weekly poetry and jazz podcast every Sunday, a radio show that features recorded spoken word and jazz interludes, as well as an open mike format, where poets from all over the world call in to recite their poetry over jazz, deejayed by de la Vega herself.

16 responses to “Everything Pink”

  1. Simon Smithson says:

    I liked it when I read it, and I liked it all the more when I heard the recording, it added much more than just an extra dimension.

    Welcome aboard, Yvonne!

    • Yvonne de la Vega says:

      Thank you Simon, apparently you’re a Jedi night, and I’m honored.

    • Yvonne de la Vega says:

      Simon,
      thanks for the kind words… I am using your galaxy sector (Jedi lingo) to list a most proper credit. And…FYI ;.)

      “Everything Pink” Poem by Yvonne de la Vega

      Music & Arrangementby Ray Manzarek
      Upright Bass – Karl Vincent
      Saxophone – Louis Taylor
      Percussion – Nirinkar Singh Khalsa
      Piano – Ray Manzarek
      Vocal – Yvonne de la Vega

      This piece was recorded “live” in the studio, the music comp is pure improvisation. I must admit, this particular piece gave way to some stellar moments, it took us to magical places that only occur in the presence of magical people. I believe this is the first pass out of three. Ray and I fell in love with this piece.

      He respected my word sing & writing and I was humbled by his pefect choices and freedom in improvisation, both symptoms of Greatness. Karl VIncent delivered, as did Louis and Nirinkar. Studio pizza never tasted that good I tell ya.

      Thanks Simon, May the Force be with you.

      Yvonne

      • Simon Smithson says:

        If that magical spirit that ties and binds us all is anywhere, it’s everywhere – so may the Force be with you as well, Yvonne.

        A little synchronicity in the studio is always to be welcomed (especially if it comes with pizza).

  2. Tweet says:

    you drew tits on your barbie!

    you shanked ken with a red marker!

    i didn’t play with my barbies properly.

    anatomically correct dolls?

    domestic violence?

    where does a child go wrong?

    barbie doesn’t have a thing to say.

    i say…

    you kinda effin rock!

  3. You wield the word more dangerously than the you wield a Sharpie, Yvonne. Great work, my dear.

  4. Ack…my words got away from me…I meant to say “more dangerously than you wield a Sharpie…” As you can see, I am not wielding my words dangerously right now. I need to take some lessons from you, my dear.

    • Yvonne de la Vega says:

      Awe Rich. You speaking of me wielding anything is good for me. Big fan of yours Rich Ferguson. Actually, HUGE fan. Not saying I’m huge, …okay, now you got me dangerously wielding words and not very sharpie, I mean sharply.

  5. Aaron Dietz says:

    I love pieces that have to be spoken. This is great stuff!

    And the recorded performance of it was absolutely awesome!

    I love the mix of humor and commentary and interrelated stories and throughout it all there is definitely a strong sense of intelligence. This is smart, smart stuff. Well done!

  6. Jude says:

    Wonderful, wonderful! I felt like applauding when you finished. Great social commentary and so beautifully read (what a lovely voice you have…).

    So many lines that I love but I especially love the simplicity of this…
    Barbie and Ken were the perfect Republicans:
    No nipples, and no dicks.

    More please!

    • Yvonne de la Vega says:

      Haha Jude. thank you, I actually favor that line as well.
      The simplicity of it… I see, yes, in a nutshell,

      If only not metaphorically though,
      for sadly they still procreate,
      a morph offspring,

      tenacious.

  7. iris berry says:

    Yvonne,

    amazing.. does not even cover it. I am all the more feeling less guilty for what i did with my Barbies… (another time).. but let’s just say, Barbie did not help any of us… she only raised an impossible bar, that you so eloquently speak of… Stunning.. thank you!

    Iris

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