- Olive Oyl and Popeye (An Identity Poem), and: Olive Oyl and Popeye (A Philosophical Poem)
Olive Oyl and Popeye (An Identity Poem)
P: I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam. (Don't hit me).
O: I kiwi where I kiwi and that's just the green hairy surface! (Don't love me.)
P: You solvent airline: here. You viable corporation and these are, among other things, the red shaved underpinnings! (Despise yourself.)
O: You bankrupt tugboat company: there. You ineffectual small businessman! Nothing is all, the obvious blue stubble! (Cherish me.)
P: I yam an in-the-black-solitary-garbage barge. Everywhere, my productive great noncommercial woman! Everything is not nothing, an unobtrusive smooth pink chin. (Screw yourself.)
O: You're a lilywhite sunken treasure! Nowhere, you small sluggish Vogue-reading man! Zero is one hundred, an obnoxious David Letterman. (I'm fucked.) [End Page 132]
Olive Oyl and Popeye (A Philosophical Poem)
P: I think it's time I got another tattoo, don't you?
O: Your empty brain regards a still pool; you give yourself the first clear patch of skin.
P: My belly's bursting with disregard for chaos, my last pimple.
O: Your buttocks are healing without regard for peace or your first tube of Clearasil.
P: My nostrils are ailing because I respect war-the last pot of antiaging cream.
O: Your handkerchief's healthy, not because you disdain peace or old flaky skin boiling away.
P: It's so windy my bell-bottoms are turning inside out and twirling about my hairy knees!
O: With mild stillness, your spandex jeans were stationary outside in, not standing at attention inside your bald elbows.
P: Your stiff dress won't give despite the tornado! Even the tender skin inside your arm, where they drew blood, is perky.
O: My billowing bloomers sway in still air. Not only my calloused bloodless feet are withering.
P: My stiff muscle shirt sticks to my pecs, even in hurricanes. But also my soft spider-veined nose is thriving. [End Page 133]
O: Your flimsy poet's blouse puffs off your flaccid arms; oddly out of danger. Minus your tough dying Miss Muffet lips.
P: I betcha there's a pony here somewhere in all this seahorse manure.
O: You couldn't even see a trillion billion starry crabs if the sky peed on your head!
P: I spied one miniscule deer tick when the ground dried off my foot!
O: I drew a blank, a million giant and perfect muscular systems where the clouds dampened me whole.
P: You erased several statements. Not one dwarfed, scarred, or misplaced jell-o flavor on earth could wet you in half.
O: I created not one question. Any towering, smooth, or found pudding smell on Mars could soak me in entirety.
P: You demolished answers galore. All short, prickly, or lost stenches under Earth couldn't dry you out, even a little. [End Page 134]
Denise Duhamel’s work has appeared in previous issues of Prairie Schooner. Her most recent books are Two and Two (Pittsburgh), Mille et un sentiments (Firewheel Editions), and Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh). She teaches creative writing at Florida International University in Miami.
Maureen Seaton’s fifth collection, Venus Examines Her Breast (Carnegie Mellon), won the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award. She lives three miles up the beach from her friend and co-writer, Denise Duhamel, in Hollywood, Florida.