Friday, February 15, 2008

Subway Blonde

Lately I’ve been depressed and tired, so tired, I can’t even bother to focus . . .
(I have screwy eyes so this is easy to do this—to let reality blur
until it looks like an Impressionist mess)
on anything. Which means I keep misreading words.

I read the title of this poem by Amy Lemmon and Denise Duhamel,
“Subway Blunder,” in the new and wonderful Barn Owl Review,
and I was sure it said “Subway Blonde.” I even read the poem,
waiting for the Subway Blonde to appear. But all the woman
were brunettes.

I started to wonder about the blondes. And if they had left
before the poem was done.

And I was reminded of how I received a nasty rejection letter
last fall from a review that had kept the poem for two years,
and the editor decided to tell me why I was so bad,
and maybe it was because I was blonde.
The editor went on to correct my use of the word, blondes.
They’re blonds, not blondes, he wrote.

I wanted to write back that all my blondes have an e
on the end, and they don’t like it when you leave out their best parts.
Men like him know nothing about the blondes.

Oh, there are so many times I’ve wanted to write back to editors
like that. But as a blonde woman, I’ve learned its best to smile
and just say: thank you, please, and oh yes.

And take the next subway home.


Zaphos said...

Blonde is a funny word, actually; it's one of the few words in the English language that actually kept a gender distinction in the voyage from French to English, so people will write "Blonde" for women, and "Blond" for men. But of course that's been more than a little muddled in common usage, so really people use either one whenever.

(and as is probably usually the case, the extreme prescriptivist editor is just wrong ...)

Amy said...

Well, that is really hilarious, because although our poem was blonde-free, both of its authors are blondes of one stripe or another. As a born-again blonde, I can say that I have had more fun. And I also have had more of the kinds of flak you describe receiving from that nasty (male) editor. But it's mostly from females. Sadly.
I think Denise and I will have to write another poem now, and call it "Subway Blonde." It sounds like the title of a Lou Reed song, or a Warhol Factory film!
BTW I love your prose poems in Barn Owl. They are so beautiful and sad. The second one reminds me of when worked in a clothing store in our mall during the recession, after the International Harvester plant had all the layoffs.

Nin Andrews said...

Yes, I think the subway blonde is a real character. I picture her riding the subways, looking down or away, maybe wearing shades . . .

Kelli said...

All my blondes have e's on their ends. They like their curves.

I used to be blonde, but it's winter so I'm blondish. I like a little more ish in the cold weather.

Nin Andrews said...

ish is good. I'm into ish. And wow, congrats on your Dorothy award poem. Really stunning.

Kelli said...

Thank you!