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The Mannequins of Ron Herman This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


AnAdaptation of T. S. Eliot's

"The Hollow Men"

I
We areJessica1, Ashley2, Madison3, and Taylor4
We are the skinny girls
Who can'tbe seen alone
Nourished by Rasbeos5 and diet water;
Knowledge has too manycalories.6
Our careless giggles
Form a quiet concerto of
Nothing atall
Like the whirl of Strawberries Wild7
Into our pretense-stainedlips
Or the greeting of the homeless man
Whose existence wedeny

Hips without flesh, hands without use,
We look but won't see,hear but won't

listen:

Recent graduates
With lives beyondBrentwood8
Vaguely remember Jessica, Ashley, Madison, and Taylor
Not asgirls
With nerves and muscles and small intestines
But merely as mobileclones
Of the mannequins in the window of Ron Herman.9


II
Irefuse to see
The value of thinking for myself
I will accept only
Glitzand the glitter of television
Pop music diet soda
The chit chat alwaysbuzzing
In my ears but
Never understandable

Don't let any depth inme be seen
Hide me disguise me
In labels and eyeliner
Don't let me darecreate an opinion
Hide creativity with liquid concealer10
Let me stay putas plastic11

I am scared to really see truth and
Meaning in mylife,
I don't think I need to see any

III

This is the city wherewealthy is worthy
This is the land of the beautiful
We worship anorexicAmazon women
We slowly crawl toward this ideal
Never to reach it
Weexhaust with hands extended
Slowly losing life

This adulation is nottruth
We must confront what paralyzes our souls
We feel our first sense ofself
Only to realize no one will acknowledge it
So we reinstall our shrineto Kate12 and
Restock our shelves with Slim-Fast13

IV

No onereally thinks here
No one stops to ponder in
This casket city
Thisshattered porcelain ballerina city
In the face of truth
We join each otherin the dark
And avoid talking of anything besides the weather
Because theweather is all we want to know
In this city void of cellulite14

Thereis no hope
Without the glimmer of escape
Of thinking and reading andmeaning;
Foreign, yes
But nourishing to the barely there frames
OfJessica and company

V

Let's avoid all truth in life
Truth inlife truth in life
Let's avoid all thought in life
Don't think - resist theurge15

After the drunken glamour
Before the hangover has stumbledaway
After the loveless rendezvous
When his hickey still stains yourbreast
You try hard not to think
We must We must We must increase ourbust16

After you've heard the rumor
But before you've added on
Afteryou tell her secret
But before her tears have dried
You try hard not tothink
The bigger the better the tighter the sweater

After you cheat onyour boyfriend
And before you stop worrying he'll

find out
Afteryou buy the silly stilettos
But before you feel better aboutyourself
Between the lies
And what you can see
You try hard not tothink
We must We must We must

I must increase my
The biggerthe
I

This is the way we spend our lives
This is the way we spendour lives
This is the way we spend our lives
Not with a purpose but alabel.



1 Number 11 on the list of "The Top 100 Girls' Names, 1998"

2, 3, 4 Numbers 5, 9and 10 on above list, also popular in the 1980s

5 A Rasbeo is the favoritefrozen yogurt combination of a junior girl at Brentwood. This fat-free treat iscalled a Rasbeo because it combines tart vanilla yogurt, Oreos, andraspberries.

6 Many teen girls believe that intelligence does not correlatewith popularity

7 A popular choice at the Los Angeles smoothie shop "JambaJuice"
8 A rigorous private college-preparatory school in California

Back to Top

9 RonHerman is a ridiculously over-priced vendor of bikinis resembling jeans andT-shirts. This refers to the rigidly gaunt plastic figurines in thestorefront.

10 Make-up that is skin-colored, paint-like, an imperfectionhider

Back to middle

11 A reference to the disproportional doll known as Barbie

12 Areference to waif supermodel Kate Moss

13 A diet shake that can be drunk forbreakfast and lunch in avoidance of real meals

14 Dimpled skin that appears asthe result of fat unevenly spread near the skin's surface

15 Allusion to achildren's rhyming game, "Here we go round the mulberry bush" (Eliot 2063). Thecyclical image parallels the purposeless lives of Brentwood students.

16 Chantof Margaret and friends in Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's me, Margaret.Accompanied exercises that were intended to increase bust size.Back to Top





This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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