A published (and self-published) writer who has been performing her work publicly since the age of 15 and has been a co-host of the Up Late poetry readings at Writers and Books, Marisa Brant has developed a strong and poised presentation. Her fearless gusto drives every line, whether written or spoken. If you think you know the ordinary, sad angst to expect from any teenage poet, read on.
I'm setting up a government in honor of Bettie Page
in honor of the greatest pin-up girl of all time
a bad girl's union
with the campaign slogan declaring
"It's time to smudge Donna Reed's make-up"
the icon's name acting as party jargon for a crosslegger,
a flats wearer,
a good girl trying to look like a natural blonde.
At our conventions
seas of fishnet and garters
will march mightily through the halls of traditional
stiletto heels puncturing carpet
of good ole' Americanized sexual repression.
We will burn holes into puritan-based Anglo-Saxon
with our atomic red lipstick,
and ask exactly what it is about herself
that dear Donna doesn't like,
what it is exactly that would make her want to be
Our government will be in charge of all presidential
and maintain a firm hold on the Minority Whip.
Our anthem will be by My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult
and we will parade through the streets beating pots and
pans and singing
"Sex on WHEE-LZ!"
We'll move the White House to Vegas,
and give Lincoln's bedroom to a cute male escort called
The cabinet will be filled with drag queens and
well-bronzed Tangierian nubiles.
This will be a government for the people,
by the chicks Donna wishes she could be-
maybe if she ate
or was a little more creative.
We will guarantee prime-time burlesque
and insurance that one really can be both the girl next
door and a super-vixen.
give up the sweet girl act
and admit that your true colors really are
black vinyl and leopard print.
your pseudo-chastity will be worthless
when I set up my government
in honor of Bettie Page.
The Ghost of Haircuts Past
In my hand, a picture of myself
lost years and memories latent within a photosensitive
a figure with a body so like my own at the end of
clenched fists and showing off her best laughing distaste
for cameras face
in the high school student parking lot,
dark knees socks, silk shirt from Goodwill
and all that wonderful hair...
shoulder-length and fiery magenta.
Someone said "like a shirt",
others just "very bright"
with two loong black stripes tucked behind the bangs.
I reached up to my recent butch coif,
all brown, blonde and permanent-
no more pink-stained 24-washes world, shower and pillows
no more screeching and pointing children
and no more children gathering in circles with wide
until the strange lady kneels down to them, trying to
make her face glow
it's okay, you can touch it if you want.
and then they'd play and play.
and then I understood how everywhere I go
I still feel like the girl with all that crazy hair,
and all the other colors I have tried and hated,
loved and missed,danced and cried in
a fervant scientist with her bottles and chemicals
always trying to live past the girl who never used
conditioner in middle school
the self-diagnosed manic-depressive in a flannel and
living out the very last struggling days of grunge,
maybe a little Janis Joplin, sometimes Courtney Love
and I sigh
because I am still wearing the ghost of that girl's hair
I am still drawing the drapes over my face with it when I
don't want to talk to you
I am still struggling to fix it in just the right way
that I can believe
and not just see
but watching blondes and latinas tailed by the sway of
what was once their
I start thinking that maybe it's a good thing and in a
divine way symbolic
that I can't make pigtails anymore
just as long as I can remember how they feel.
Observations of Yet Another Smart-Ass Teenager
It's 11 o'clock on Friday night,
do you know where your youth culture is thriving?
hip phat party party
with inside jokes and living room chock full o' soda can
and touchie-feely teens.
family restaurant or diner
with the usual crew and formica tables covered
with our greasy white dishes
drawing stares from those who must never have been young,
sit in someone's room
rapping off philosophy as best we can
about the relevancy, or lack therof, of art
or how about life? death? god?
and what it must be like to call yourself unique
because you have based your entire life around what your
magazines and catalogs have told you is unique.
sit home alone and music, read, draw, write, and play
big bad Zen teenager staring at the ceiling fan
or latenight MTV videos and sock puppets.
go to the movies with a fly guy or hip chick
and if we're lucky and smell nice,
find out what it really takes to fog up the windows.
alone in the sterile bathroom
making the most of our five-fingered sex lives.
pretty city coffeehouse
where the drinks are that expensive because they are the
cover charge in disguise
for this beautiful youth, mellow club
where the art is not likely to consist of watercolor
and everyone can go to be an individual, just like
work work work work work
probably food service of some kind, maybe retail
managers who act like the despot of the Big Mac or
sloppy disgruntle customers and the buttons
and drive-thru and dishwater and returns
and a silent prayer for a day off next week.
the tiled lanes and highways of the mall,
sale rack at Express,
food court, over priced multi-media goods
while the parade of consumers marches by.
candle light and blankets in the park
to say, "moon, you are so lovely,
"stars, you are the glitter on Nature's seductive eyelids
"over the black lace flames of the tree tops."
local shows with bands you can get for five dollars a 1/2
all convened with our tribe,
performing our tribal rites to prove that we are in, we
someone's basement or clubhouse
with mood altering chemicals
because our own moods aren't good enough
laughing at nothing, entranced with everything
quite sure this is the best there is for us.
lonely with our homework
better get started early, only 49 hours of weekend left
whatever will become of me?
7 numbers already busy, 7 numbers not at home, 7 numbers
eghh eghh eghh,
7 numbers voice mail, 7 numbers no one by that name lives
7 numbers I thought I told you never to call here,
7 numbers I'm sorry, your call was not accepted, please
try again later
7 numbers do I know you?
and we do all this because we are youth culture
and we are so very mighty
or, that is, at least mighty involved in trying to answer
of what to do on a friday night.
This collection was posted here in April 2000.
"Pin-Up Politics: in honor of the greatest pin-up girl of all time", "The Ghost of Haircuts Past", and "Observations of Yet Another Smart-Ass Teenager" are taken from Human Confetti by Marisa Brandt.
You can find more of Marisa Brandt's work in Poems from the Heron Clan, from Hurt, Branch and Lyons Publishing and by visiting the Cereal website and clicking on the "sorted by Author...." link (which will also give you a bio if you click on her name).
All poetry and other artistic writings are © their authors and reproduced here with their permission.
Click on the envelope to go to the Mailbox.
All contents ©
unless otherwise noted.
Back to the Fireside
Click to return to the main page of