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Sticks - Alix Olsen

Welcome to the stick world, mama whispers

to her newborn baby girl.

She admires the little toes, wiggling

like plump pink ballerinas,

caresses the round belly,

places her palm under the fat behind,

envelops the chunky thighs.

She strokes the tiny flat breasts.

The baby girl sighs

and mama begins her stick world lesson,

hushed and intent: 

We stick baby boys lips on our nipples-

to relieve them,

stick big boys inside our lips-

to relieve them,

suck them until we swallow their stickiness.

We tell our sons only sticks and stones

will break their bones,

then call each other bitch, knowing it sticks

more than hurled knuckles ever could.

We are ignored when our butts stick out,

admired when our chests stick out.

We chant stick together, stick together, until

size six bitch walks by-

sick, we whisper, menacingly, to each other,

Stick, we think, admiringly, to ourselves. 

We smoke cancer sticks, chew on

spearmint sticks, chomp on

carrot sticks, celery sticks.

We crave stick-out collarbones, ribs-

When we cave in, stomachs sticking out,

(stacks of waffles, whole weeks stock)

we stick our fingers down our throats.

Fingernails caked underneath with years of

      lipsticks, eyebrow sticks, sticks to cover up

      red spots, white spots, black spots.

      As we stick to the advice in magazines-

      page one: waif, page two: be you, they croon

      page three: I like a good listener, writes Joe from Rochester.

So we smile and nod, sticky sweet.

      And stick jewel after jewel in our ear, so we

      swish and sway pleasantly when we turn our heads

      to hear what they have to say.

      We stick on eyelashes,

      lower our eyes in their direction-

      suggestive eyes, bedroom eyes, she wanted it eyes.

      So they stick it in, stick it out-

      When we protest,

      we are stuck up, a stick in the mud. 

      We stick our fingers when we sew up

      our childrens ripped jeans,

      our husbands ripped egos.

      We pat stick-it notes on the fridge, reminding

      our sons of baseball practice, reminding

      our daughters to

      Stick to their Diets.

      We ooo and aahh over Suzys stick figure scene,

      the first in a series of self-portraits.

      And if we are the kind, honey, who like to stick up into each other,

      we stick out-- warped eves.

      And even with our combat boots we crumble like pick-up

      sticks sometimes, away from each other, and crooked. 

      Mama wipes her eyes, mascara marring

      her Oil of Olay face.

      She lifts her daughters mouth to her nipple,

      rubs the padded back,

peers into the clear eyes-

so satisfied, belly full.

I dont want you sticking flowers

on my grave, baby girl,

mama says,

with the weight of the world

on your stick shoulders.


and not ever

knowing why.

yeah, I think this is Alix Olsen's poem. It looks like her work. I went to her site and asked her to submit to my zine.  Her rep e-mailed me back about 2 months later.