Monday, August 24, 2009


I have always been a fan of Steve Martin, so I was a little disappointed to discover the deep vein of misogyny revealed in the pages of Shop Girl. I don't claim to be a literary critic, much less a feminist, but I decided that this required a statement. I have often fantasized about throwing books out of windows or dropping them into sewer grates, but this time I decided it was time to indulge in one of my more elaborate fantasies. I clamped my copy of Shop Girl in my guillotine cutter, chopped it into tiny pieces and stuffed the remains into a pickle jar. Every now and then I pull pieces out to see if there is anything worth keeping. So, here is a meager handful of poetry that seemed to deserve a little mercy. I promise every word belongs to Steve Martin. I added nothing:


She maneuvers the
topic elsewhere

go on the room implies
those times
when a man is watching
hoping to
come across as a vixen

moves her eyes away
and stands there
fills in a background of oily

leaves the eerie
floating nude image of
herself in white.

. . .


Little is said
a vixen floating
nude in white
skillfully stands there

enjoys what is given back
and forth
maneuvers the oily
black background

and realizes that nothing
fills those times

when her eyes move away
hoping to come
across the
image of herself elsewhere

exactly when
a man is watching.

. . .


She skillfully
maneuvers the
the eerie
floating image of

her monotony
moves her eyes away
and stands there
hoping to
come across

the oily black
the room implies
dutifully fills in a vixen

enjoys those times
nothing is answered
little is said
files them in her purse.

. . .


She fills in the background
her eyes away from oily black
sentences in her purse

exactly the same
nothing implies a floating nude image of
herself in white and
she realizes

that she enjoys what is given
skillfully moves
the monotony of the room
when a man is watching

stands there
those times hoping to
leave the topic elsewhere
little is said.


  1. go on the room implies
    those times
    when a man is watching
    hoping to
    come across as a vixen

    That sounds like a pretty accurate description of a pretty, bored young woman who works in a department store doing what pretty young women everywhere do naturally - responding to the incessant gaze of other people by posing and trying on different personas.

  2. That one is essentially a capsule summary of Mirabella's character in Shop Girl. The others are much more deliberate departures. I enjoyed playing wih the source material to change the tone and meaning of the passage.