David Trinidad

 

 

From a Poem in Progress

 

The next pink thing I see I’m going to put in this poem. “That guy needs more

air in his tires.”

“I don’t think I know how to have fun.” “We should have taken Lake Shore Drive.”

Seven days before Christmas, Bob and I are stuck in traffic on 90/94, Dan Ryan

Expressway,

downtown Chicago. We’re driving to Cleveland, in Bob’s black TrailBlazer, to see

the exhibition of Supremes gowns at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “My camera

sounds sick.” “We’ve been on the road an hour and we’re not out of Chicago yet.”

Fred (our nickname for Bob’s Magellan GPS [Global Positioning System]) is our

guide.

He continually interrupted me (“slight right turn in .5 miles”; “remain on the

current road”)

when I read Bob the beginning of the poem. This is a straight stretch, so Fred’s

finally quiet.

“I think we’re in Indiana.” Krazy Kaplans Costume Castle. “I hate having

dandruff.”

“I hadn’t noticed.” Rest area: we both pee. Bob’s first glimpse of Manhattan was

from New Jersey,

driving in from Philadelphia. He fell for the city right out of the Holland Tunnel—

the starkness of Canal Street at night; businesses with rolled-down gates, all

locked up and

guarded; the aggressiveness of the driving a great rush. Eventually he’d convince

his boss to transfer him East. “I love all these lines and then all these cylinders

out here.”

“Let’s talk about Scott again.” “No, let’s talk about Rafael.” Amish Acres. “Oh,

there’s snow.” “According to Fred we have four hours and four minutes to go.”

God bless America: an endlessly repeating background—like on The Flintstones

of the same

fast-food restaurants and large chains: McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Dairy Queen,

Dunkin’

Donuts, Wendy’s, Linens ‘n Things, Home Depot, Burger King, Super Target,

Taco

Bell, KFC. After a nap, I slip in a Supremes CD. Though the love I give is not

returned

for that boy my heart still yearns. “I suppose The Supremes’ lyrics were not

the best guide to life.”

“I mean occasionally I’d have sloppy, desperate, drunken sex.” “Look at that

windmill.”

Crooked Creek. The Candy Cane Christmas Shoppe (open year round). “A little

man-made lake

with some houses around it.” “I wouldn’t want to live there—this or any other

life.” Breast

cancer ribbon bumper sticker (the next pink thing). Welcome to Ohio. Pretty

cemetery.

 

Over the years,

many of the gowns

worn by The Supremes

were given descriptive

names by the group

and their fans. For

ease of identification,

all the gowns in this

exhibit are titled.

 

Black Swirls

White De Mink

Purple Fantasy

Turquoise Freeze

Pink Feathers

Crème de Menthe

Carousel

Yellow Wool

Tropical Lilac

Black Diamonds

Pink Lollipops

Feathered Bronze

Goldie

Black Butterfly

Green Valley Fringe

Cotton Candy

Blue Icicles

Orange Freeze

Green Petals

Red Hot

Sunburst

 

There was even a dress called Sophisticated Lady, like Barbie’s biggest and

pinkest

outfit from the mid-sixties: Romantic old rose taffeta ball gown with silver

filigree lace

trim on bodice and drape of skirt. Silver tiara, long white gloves, pink pearls

and evening slippers.

Fitted American Beauty Rose velveteen evening coat, lined to match gown,

has dainty silver buttons.

This was Barbie’s most expensive ensemble at the time: $5.00. Her wedding

set, Brides’ Dream,

cost $3.50; the doll itself (with red jersey swimsuit, pearl earrings, shoes, and

“special wire stand to keep Barbie on her feet for all Fashion Shows”) cost

$3.00.

Confession: I recently purchased Sophisticated Lady from a Barbie dealer for

$150.00—

“NM/C” (near mint/complete); “Crisp gown with glitter version tiara” (Mattel

produced the outfit with two kinds of headbands: clear plastic with molded-in

silver glitter

and solid gray plastic with no glitter; I’m sure most Barbie collectors prefer the

former)

—one of several Christmas presents to myself. Confession: this is not the first

time

I’ve purchased Sophisticated Lady. My collecting: a saga I doubt I’ll ever fully

understand.

Let’s just say that—like many collectors—I’ve bought and purged, only to buy

again.

Confession: last Monday (February 21) at Columbia College, I gave my poetry

workshop

a writing assignment (Joe’s I Remember) and went to my office to bid on

Bride’s Dream

on ebay. A gorgeous example, NRFB (never removed from box). I got it for

$430.00

(a decent price), placing my bid nine seconds before the end of the auction.

How the heart races, bid sniping on ebay, waiting until seconds before the

auction closes

to click “Confirm Bid.” Confession: this is not the first time I’ve purchased

Bride’s Dream—

loose or NRFB. It’s ironic, I said to my therapist, that at this particular moment

(over Ira/ready and willing to date/feeling like there’s room for a relationship

in my life)

I should find myself buying (again) Barbie’s wedding dress. I did, after all, sell

the previous NRFB Bride’s Dream I owned on ebay right after Ira and I broke up.

“I wouldn’t mind having a wedding ring,” I said to Bob not too long ago, idly

twisting

a flattened straw wrapper around my ring finger. “You might want to find a

boyfriend

first,” he said drolly. Ira always wanted rings; I resisted. Instead, we bought

St. Christopher medals at Tiffany’s. Had them engraved with each other’s name

and wrapped, with white ribbon, in little boxes—my first taste of Tiffany blue.

December, 1992. One of the most romantic gifts: it’s what the narrator of

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

gives Holly Golightly as a Christmas present. For years I wouldn’t get on an

airplane without

that St. Christopher around my neck. Holly was not a girl who could keep any-

thing, and surely by now

she has lost that medal, left it in a suitcase or some hotel drawer. Unlike Holly,

I’ve held onto mine.