Salome Magazine
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LAce Posted Monday, October 6th, 2003
Fashion Pantoum
Eleanor Stanford

The spring’s raspberry pink tulle
modeled archly by the Seine
is an obvious allusion to the death
of culture. The reflective surface

modeled archly by the Seine
turns the Louvre upside-down.
Culture, that reflective surface
in which we groom ourselves,

no longer turns on the Louvre. Upside-down
pineapple cake, piano lessons, the ways
in which our mothers groomed us
for marriage, seem more significant.

Pineapple cake is a lesson in the ways
that glossy surfaces crumble, the same way
that marriage seemed more significant
in anticipation than in real life.

Glossy surfaces crumple on the way
from Paris and Milan to my mailbox.
In anticipation of real life,
I subscribe to fashion magazines, but

From Paris and Milan to my mailbox
is quite a distance. Whatever morals
you subscribe to, the fashion magazines
make you feel slightly grimy and inappropriate.

It’s quite a distance from any morals
to a Chinese-satin kimono dress.
It makes you feel slightly grimy, this misappropriated
culture. This issue is a tribute to the comeback

of Chinese satin. My own kimono dress
is bursting at the seams, made for a younger woman.
Anyway, if culture is a tribute to the comeback,
Why are the hip cafés and fashion magazines

bursting at the seams with young women
in fuchsia patent leather pants? And
Why are the hip cafés and fashion magazines
the arbiters anyway? Here in the Midwest,

In fuchsia patent leather pants and
a black wool bustier I feel a little awkward—
arbitrary, anyway. Here in the Midwest,
Vogue is shelved next to Dairy Farming Today.

A black wool bustier is always a little awkward
though, even on the glossy leaves of the October
Vogue. Held up next to dairy farming and today’s
chores, the lace and chiffon tunic is as see-

through as the glossy leaves of October
eaten away by moths. Still, I’d rather do my
chores in a lace and chiffon tunic than see
it hang forlornly in the closet,

eaten away by moths. I’d rather do my
face in this season’s matte metallic colors
than hang forlornly at the closet,
deciding what to wear. It’s easier

to face this season’s matte metallic colors
in an absinthe silk-draped train,
and deciding what to wear is still easier
than churning butter. Riding

in the absinthe silk-draped train
of forgetfulness, I take a window seat.
The engine churning the butter-
yellow fields, I plow through rows

of forgetfulness. Outside the windows,
the spring’s raspberry bushes turn brown
above yellow fields. We’ve plowed under
the obvious allusions to death.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Nicholas Taylor on Monday, October 6th, 2003 at 11:40 AM
I believe in a pure pantoum the repeated lines are restated verbatim. I love the way this poem rearranges the words in those lines. It's a great effect, especially if you're familiar with the pantoum form.

Posted by Isaac Stanfordian [ ] on Monday, October 6th, 2003 at 7:35 PM
This is a great poem. And I have no relation to the author, so my opinion is totally unbiased. I don't know what a pantoum is but, man, who cares with a poem this good?!

Posted by Fay Stanford [ ] on Tuesday, October 7th, 2003 at 5:11 PM
This poem reminds me of a dream. It has a mood that hangs on even after you finish reading itbecause theimagery is so striking.

Posted by Amanda French [ ] on Tuesday, October 28th, 2003 at 12:47 PM
Beautiful, beautiful. I'm writing my dissertation on the villanelle, another form with lots of repetitions. It's amazing the way that just giving yourself the freedom to change a word or two or even five in the repeating lines opens up a vast vista of possibility . . . and you still get the effect of repetition and parallel. Are there really such things as patent leather pants? Vinyl, yes, pleather, yes, but patent leather? I've never been to either Paris or Milan, though, so maybe I'm just more out of touch with fashion than I thought. :> Such great _imagery_, too--I love the image of doing farm chores in a "lace and chiffon tunic."

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