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Saturday, November 03, 2007


by Steve Hellyard Swartz

Adults in Australia
Are filling up the lists
Of artful orthodontists
To look a certain way

Aussie realtor, twenty-something
Kimmie B.
Says: In my profession it makes all the difference in the
World to look a certain way

Which way is that?
Wonders the Iraqi girl who hears Kimmie B. quoted on the BBC

Which way, the girl in Baghdad wonders as she lies on her bedroom floor
and opens a map of the world
Which way, the girl in Baghdad wonders, imagining Kimmie B. halfway
     around the world
Imagining Kimmie B. praying to
Diamonds on the map, east west north south, all the rough paper stones
     she's heard about,
this girl
in dreams that gag her in the dark of night, one two three thousand times

What, the girl wonders
kneeling on the world
did Kimmie B. mean when she said:
I need a celebrity mouth

The Iraqi girl was told by her mother just yesterday not to look left or right,
     not up or down,
but only straight ahead
Let your nose guide you, Mama said
There are dead bodies everywhere
On the streets of the girl’s neighborhood
There is nothing you can do
If the men come to pick them up, good, if not

The girl looks at the map
The girl sees California and thinks about looking a certain way
from Australia to California and all around the sun splashed world
There is a poster of Disney World on her wall
There is a poster of Arnold Schwartzenegger as The Terminator
If the men come to pick up the bodies, we are very, very happy
If not, there’s nothing to say, nothing to do
If not, then you just have to look a certain way
And go on

Steve Hellyard Swartz is an award-winning filmmaker, broadcaster, and poet. This year, he won an Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards. His poetry has been published in The Kennesaw Review,, switched-on guttenberg, and Haggard and Halloo.