"Poor Britney Spears".
is not the beginning of a sentence you hear often uttered in my
wants to make a career comeback and her agent pushes her into the MTV
awards show but she can't lose the weight beforehand
and so looks chubby in a spangled bikini before millions of fanged,
spiteful fans and enemies,
then gets a little drunk while getting her nerve up so botches a step in
the dance routine which makes her look, one critic says,
like a "comatose piglet,"
well, it wasn't by accident, was it, that she wandered into that
glitterati party of late 20th century striptease celebrity?
First we made her into an object of desire, then into an object of
contempt; Now we want to nominate her
as an object of compassion?
Are you sure you know what the hell we're doing?
Is she a kind of voodoo doll onto whom we vicariously project
our fantasies of triumph and humiliation?
Is she a life-size piece of chewing gum Full of strange non-FDA approved
additives bioengineered and red to us by the mad scientists of the
mainstream dream machine?
Or is she nothing less than a gladiatrix who stalks into the coliseum
full of blinding lights and tigers
before a vast stadium of witnesses with naught but her slim javelin of
and recklessly little protective clothing?
Oh my adorable little monkey, prancing for your candy;
With one of my voices I shout, Jump, Jump, you little whore!
With another t turn down the lights and say,
Put on some clothes and go home, sweetheart.
TONY HOAGLAND'S new collection of poems, I Have News For
You, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2010. He teaches at the
University of Houston and in the Warren Wilson low-residency program.