You’re all striped hair extensions and
Bubble-gum pink lips and lids.
Glitter is your middle name.
It is calligraphed on the labels you wear and
The decals stuck to your nails,
You laugh and talk
In your words of parties
Up The Valley and beer tags tossed
Like wedding confetti.
There is no bouquet of flowers.
But there are plenty of daisy tatts and
The women throw themselves at The Men
As desperate as any satin-dressed maiden.
You’re different though.
Even though you’ve got the same clothes and hair and makeup.
It’s in your eyes.
Like the shadow of a bird.
A crow with its heathen connotation.
Or a vulture, circling on the winds
But the real truth is one neither of us forgets.
That the swaddle of tight clothes
Is to calm you as you try very, very hard
To take even a gasp of breath.
This poem was written in response to a certain kind of girl we recognise in pop culture as the ‘popular girl’ trope. It imagines and considers perhaps some of the darker thoughts and feelings hidden beneath the perky, pretty exterior. This exterior can be interpreted as a mask carefully made up to attract not only the opposite sex but also validating responses for a particular self-concept. In this poem I tried to take apart some aspects of that mask and to create empathy for girls, who, like all of us, are just muddling through…