Saturday, January 13, 2007

Poetry For Corset Wearers

Corsets are traditionally garments worn to mold and shape the torso into a desired shape for aesthetic or medical purposes (either for the duration of wearing it, or with a more lasting effect). Both men and women have worn and still wear corsets. There are several variations. A waist corset is a type of short corset or wide belt that is used to reduce and shape the waist. It is much tighter than an abdominal belt. A ribbon corset, on the other hand, is a waist cincher made of ribbon. A pseudo-ribbon corset is a waist cincher which looks like a ribbon but is made of cut pieces instead of ribbons. There is also a light corset that can be worn during sleep, a summer corset worn under summer dresses, and a corset designed to be used outside a corseted dress. The waist corset was fashionable from 1860 to 1907, out of fashion from 1911 to 1947 and 1960 to 1985 then regained popularity by reappearing in fashion designers collections after being inspired by the 2001 film release of Moulin Rouge. Now, some poems inspired by corset wearers:

Scene Where The Hillside Gets Bulldozed

In scene 7 the script call for me to be sitting in a
red SUV at the curb of nowhere. The anthropoid
in the passenger's seat is dressed in a halter-top
& open-toe sandals. I wear turtle soup. Neither
of us have speaking parts. There's a replica of a
dragon on the dashboard on loan from a petting
zoo. It's suppose to stand for good luck but has
never learned the knack of fire breathing. Here's
where the cell phone of sexual joy rings & rings
but neither of us answer. Movie-goers have to
assume the caller has the wrong number. And
that mutant with albino eyes in the back seat is
no help either. He only tells me to drive pass a
set of stoplights & buildings with their backs torn
away or propped up by imagination. The guardrail
at a train-crossing flashes red. There's much more
to life but we have to rub it first. Later, exhaust
fumes put us in touch with sentiment & if we fold
our arms 90 seconds, the guardrails might become
daddy-longlegs or rusted towers spouting oil. But
by then, a hillside has already been bulldozed or
lined with fur.

Eventually, A Horse

Or hailstorms to build split-level houses.

When both bells & birds stop. The big mouth
of a refrigerator. Or irony sitting on the
back porch. Girls with flowers to push broom.
The skinny sequoia in a newspaper. Lousy wig.
Lazy lock. a giant running backwards...

fistfuls of hand-wipes...
doodles on a napkin.

Trying to figure out the best way to
disguise a wish-bone.

One large alarm clock ticking
down the hole...

more sentimental rain,
a self-indulgent cloud

I could donate my front door to science,
she teases, with her hand on the knob.

And you're about as natural as a freeway, I
reply, because I think the words hit & run.

You see how difficult gift-giving is?

These poems first appeared online at:
Copyright 2007 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.
Also visit his literary E-Zine at:

Research on corset provided by:

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