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Saturday, December 16, 2006


by Mary E. Weems

It’s another Geraldo “and around the world”
The three white girls, without curls
Stand in front of the camera dressed
in swimsuits that look like skin
like they wear them even when not grinning
like clueless Cheshire cats.
They are all meant to be white-skinned,
white as the moon when she’s full of herself.
They have a look in their eye, a tunnel vision
of outside looking in, of dissatisfied,
of we don’t know, except what we want to know.
So, while the world spins on a billion behinds
all turning the soil in a different direction,
AIDS takes center stage with rage, poverty
and what should we care for, while the innocent
repeat the role of invisible sacrifices to the oil
and fake Bush gives a nod to drill addiction;
while new diseases are quickly added to all the
we already have, while in the middle of the mix
every day continues to amaze, affirm, and thrive;
they seek the ultimate tan, huddle in their basements
at night
whispering on cell phones, sharing the newest liquid
ways to hide their tanning time from parents, the
credit card bills
that come every month. They match arms, legs, faces in
compare the results of the latest session to the
cutout gossip magazine
images of their latest tan-idols, look adoringly at
themselves each time
they pass anything that reflects. They are the tan.

Mary E. Weems, Ph.D. is an accomplished poet, playwright, author, performer, motivational speaker, and scholar of urban education. Weems’ work has been widely published in journals, anthologies, and several books including Public Education and the Imagination-Intellect: I Speak from the Wound in My Mouth (Lang, 2003), developed from her dissertation which argues for imagination-intellectual development as the primary goal of public education. She won the Wick Chapbook Award for her collection white in 1996, and in 1997 her play Another Way to Dance won the Chilcote award for The Most Innovative Play by an Ohio Playwright. Her most recent collection of poems Tampon Class (Pavement Saw Press, 2005) is in its second printing. Mary Weems currently teaches in the English and Education departments at John Carroll University.