“Independence Day” (Pageantry)


Independence Day

You sashayed down a gangway raised
for the day over the concrete stucco (the place
that normally held the tether ball pole, just a hole now
covered), people sweating hot dogs beneath
a salt white sky as
you pivoted in your brand new suit like
the Misses on TV–Hawaii Maryland Maine–
your hands carefully cupped over
that bit at the back of upper thighs
that was fat on everyone, your smile careless of
missing teeth (baby incisors last to go) quietly
beseeching the judges for the sash, to pick you
as someone’s
idea of beautiful, someone
besides your mother–it would make her
so happy; you too


I am posting the above draft poem for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link night, hosted by the wonderful Claudia Schoenfeld.  Check dVerse out!  And Claudia!  And if you have time over the holiday, check out my books!  Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms,  Going on Somewhere, poetry, or  Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.  

Nose Dive is only 99 cents on Kindle – so if you want to make someone happy–i.e. me – take the risk!  Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the software to your computer!  Plus if 99 cents is too much – just let me know, and I’ll be happy to set up some sort of free day or coupon. Thanks much and have a wonderful 4th. 

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27 Comments on ““Independence Day” (Pageantry)”

  1. Very nicely done and I picked up your book on Kindle :).

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    Well, this leaves me with a sort of sadness, Karin. I am seeing a child, on display, and that always is hard for me to watch, but if this is about an adult, than its just sort of the sadness of human folly more than exploitation. The mood is powerful, regardless–the fourth and fifth lines especially seem to make things immediate and real.

  3. I truly dislike these beauty pageants for these young girls. Half of it is about their mother’s own happiness, not the girls. They dress these young kids up with so much make-up and in costumes meant for much older girls, I’ve even seen when they cover this on the news that they have to wear false teeth to fill in the gaps where their baby teeth have fallen out but mustn’t be seen. It’s such exploitation. I feel so sad for the kids that must feel so rejected and not ‘good enough’ if they don’t win.

  4. brian miller Says:

    i can def see her and feel the sadness a bit as well…i am thinking more of the self consciousness of body…to know about the bit of fat already with teeth missing (an early age) and making her mama happy…we have such a skewed sense of beauty…

  5. Draft? This poem is excellent. Rework it if you must, but its darn good.

    Also, thank you for the well-wishes for my wife’s health and our anniversary. You are kind. Thank you.

  6. apshilling Says:

    Hey K 🙂

    the opening lines caught my attention

    that bit at the back of upper thighs
    that was fat on everyone, your smile careless of
    missing teeth (baby incisors last to go

    this section really grabbed me too…

    such a cool idea to reflect upon…

    thanks for your comment at my place…

    i have replied because i should really have added a footnote
    with the poem…

    thanks K. all the best with the book 😀

  7. apshilling Says:

    replied on my blog i mean – doh!
    how is it possible to get tongue tied whilst typing

    … type-tied 😀

  8. Well written piece there Karin, set the scene well, got the motion through and some great lines,

    also not sure what I think of beauty pagents for kids, unless it’s all about fun and they enjoy it, then no prob,

    Thanks for that

    • Also, do you have an e-book version of your poetry book, going somewhere?

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        Thanks, Dylan, for your kind comment. You know, I don’t. I should put it on – or maybe even just on the blog as a downloadable pdf. It has illustrations which made it a bit hard for an e-book, but maybe I’ll just ahead and do it (or take out the illustrations.) Thanks for your interest.

        The ebook I do have is quite a silly novel – more women oriented though the blogger Charles Mashburn read it and seemed to like it. If you like music – musicals, you might enjoy as it talks a lot about musicals on the brain . k

  9. claudia Says:

    beseeching the judges for the sash, to pick you
    as someone’s
    idea of beautiful… dang.. you paint the scene well and i feel sad for her..think we all need this “independent day” as well from caring too much for looks..well written piece k.

  10. claudia Says:

    and i meant independence..ugh..

  11. amivglobus Says:

    Lovely. This makes me think of the song “Not Pretty Enough” by Kasey Chambers.


  12. David King Says:

    Have to agree with emmettwheatfall, it doesn’t read as draft that NEEDS rewriting – though who knows what another wave of your magic wand might achieve…? It never fails to thrill me.

  13. yoga-adan Says:

    cute “and” touching, tough thing to do

    esp liked,

    “people sweating hot dogs beneath
    a salt white sky”

    talk about setting a tone! nice work 😉 thanks!

  14. Chazinator Says:

    I saw this too about the child girls whose mothers make them participate in these pageants. My wife watched a reality show about them, which we saw as basically a horrifying spectacle of not just bad taste but exploitative. Your poem brings to light this strange, weird fascination with looks and seduction in beings whose souls are silently warped by the pageant.

  15. I read so much pain in this, Karin–the pain of longing for acceptance, of never feeling like you’re enough. I loathe that sort of expectation that’s heaped on a child. Powerful.

  16. Myrna Says:

    I wish my final poems were as good as your draft.
    You really captured the sadness about being judged in a pageant. I like how you write about the beginnings of hatred of body image. Really sad.

  17. kaykuala Says:

    I don’t see much fun to expose youngsters to the vigours of beauty pageants. Young minds with all its innocence should not be tested in this way.You’ve cleverly brought out the ills of these indiscretions.Great verse, K!


  18. Ah, the wish to be seen as beautiful! How early it starts; how early our culture inculcates it. You convey her feelings perfectly, I think.

  19. rmpWritings Says:

    i wonder, do we ever really stop “sashayed down a gangway?” You paint a very sweet picture; though the idea of a little girl being that self-conscience over some baby fat seems quite depressing; at least the toothless grin doesn’t seem to have fazed her.

  20. This makes me a little sad but maybe times are changing. There was a young girl on fb today who petitioned 17 Magazine with 80,000 signatures to stop photo-shopping their pictures and they agreed!

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