Whiskerino 2009

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  • posted: November 17 @ 12:48pm
Victoria's Secret

by Billy Collins

The one in the upper-left-hand corner
is giving me a look
that says I know you are here
and I have nothing better to do
for the remainder of human time
than return your persistent but engaging stare.
She is wearing a deeply scalloped
flame-stitch halter top
with padded push-up styling
and easy side-zip tap pants.

The one on the facing page, however,
who looks at me over her bare shoulder,
cannot hide the shadow of annoyance in her brow.
You have interrupted me,
she seems to be saying,
with your coughing and your loud music.
Now please leave me alone;
let me finish whatever it was I was doing
in my organza-trimmed
whisperweight camisole with
keyhole closure and point d'esprit mesh back.

I wet my thumb and flip the page.
Here, the one who happens to be reclining
in a satin and lace merry widow
with an inset lace-up front,
decorated underwire cups and bodice
with lace ruffles along the bottom
and hook-and-eye closure in the back,
is wearing a slightly contorted expression,
her head thrust back, mouth partially open,
a confusing mixture of pain and surprise
as if she had stepped on a tack
just as I was breaking down
her bedroom door with my shoulder.

Nor does the one directly beneath her
look particularly happy to see me.
She is arching one eyebrow slightly
as if to say, so what if I am wearing nothing
but this stretch panne velvet bodysuit
with a low sweetheart neckline
featuring molded cups and adjustable straps.
Do you have a problem with that?!

The one on the far right is easier to take,
her eyes half-closed
as if she were listening to a medley
of lullabies playing faintly on a music box.
Soon she will drop off to sleep,
her head nestled in the soft crook of her arm,
and later she will wake up in her
Spandex slip dress with the high side slit,
deep scoop neckline, elastic shirring,
and concealed back zip and vent.

But opposite her,
stretched out catlike on a couch
in the warm glow of a paneled library,
is one who wears a distinctly challenging expression,
her face tipped up, exposing
her long neck, her perfectly flared nostrils.
Go ahead, her expression tells me,
take off my satin charmeuse gown
with a sheer, jacquard bodice
decorated with a touch of shimmering Lurex.
Go ahead, fling it into the fireplace.
What do I care, her eyes say, we're all going to hell anyway.

I have other mail to open,
but I cannot help noticing her neighbor
whose eyes are downcast,
her head ever so demurely bowed to the side
as if she were the model who sat for Correggio
when he painted "The Madonna of St. Jerome,"
only, it became so ungodly hot in Parma
that afternoon, she had to remove
the traditional blue robe
and pose there in his studio
in a beautifully shaped satin teddy
with an embossed V-front,
princess seaming to mold the bodice,
and puckered knit detail.

And occupying the whole facing page
is one who displays that expression
we have come to associate with photographic beauty.
Yes, she is pouting about something,
all lower lip and cheekbone.
Perhaps her ice cream has tumbled
out of its cone onto the parquet floor.
Perhaps she has been waiting all day
for a new sofa to be delivered,
waiting all day in stretch lace hipster
with lattice edging, satin frog closures,
velvet scrollwork, cuffed ankles,
flare silhouette, and knotted shoulder straps
available in black, champagne, almond,
cinnabar, plum, bronze, mocha,
peach, ivory, caramel, blush, butter, rose, and periwinkle.
It is, of course, impossible to say,
impossible to know what she is thinking,
why her mouth is the shape of petulance.

But this is already too much.
Who has the time to linger on these delicate
lures, these once unmentionable things?
Life is rushing by like a mad, swollen river.
One minute roses are opening in the garden
and the next, snow is flying past my window.
Plus the phone is ringing.
The dog is whining at the door.
Rain is beating on the roof.
And as always there is a list of things I have to do
before the night descends, black and silky,
and the dark hours begin to hurtle by,
before the little doors of the body swing shut
and I ride to sleep, my closed eyes
still burning from all the glossy lights of day.


Scrivener says:
Clame for alternate 1
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 12:54pm -
Scrivener says:
Clame for alternate 2
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 12:54pm -
Fledgling Brewer says:
Very, very nice.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 12:56pm -
Scrivener says:
My timer went off and the shutter snapped just as I began to cough.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 12:56pm -
jnonfiction says:
Hurl. Graphic and text alike.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 12:57pm -
jnonfiction says:
Which is to say, right on.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 12:57pm -
Gavin says:
based on the thumbnail i thought you were going to say something about having the flu
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 12:58pm -
pcain says:
Ive never spent so much time on someones whiskerino page. I love the short story.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 1:05pm -
JamesC says:
this photo made me chuckle because hey look at your cheeks
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 1:14pm -
mackle says:
I think you just inspired a Pre-Barf Theme Day
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 1:18pm -
ThatGuy says:
Nice puke face. Very funny.

@mackle you might want to rethink that theme day considering how "unclassy" that would naturally get. You'd have to patrol the site ALL DAY.

Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 1:22pm -
Caronna says:
are you about to puke?
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 1:24pm -
jnonfiction says:
@ThatGuy, it would be a *Pre* Barf day. As in, everyone makes this face. Which would be pretty funny, actually.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 1:30pm -
Dave says:
I thought you look like you're about to toss your cookies!
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 1:34pm -
Sir Squire says:
Billy Collins never disappoints.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 2:34pm -
Ned Kelly says:
thats the longest caption I half read.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 3:42pm -
mynameisjason says:
that was long. but i do like billy collins.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 4:17pm -
yourfavorite says:
haha awesome. You look like you're about to vomit though.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 4:23pm -
Dschonn says:
I read it all, but I still laughed at @NedKelly.

I think Billy Collins is probably one of my favorite poets (though unfortunately I am not familiar with so many poets that such a statement means much). I hear him reading his work on the radio every once in a while, so I could hear his voice speaking the words as I read them.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 5:01pm -
Scrivener says:
I'm a big fan of Billy Collins. He's smart and funny and very approachable for readers who don't feel especially comfortable reading poetry, which, due to a whole lot of really poor instruction at the secondary school level and, to a lesser extent in colleges, is most everyone. I can't tell you how much I loathe English teachers who teach poetry as if it's some mystical game where you can't possibly understand the secret hidden in the language unless a certified professional points it out to you, usually while sneering at you for being too stupid to have understood it in the first place. Poetry, like all other forms of literature, is about communication. Those teachers are still trapped in a New Critical mindset, though New Criticism has been dead for 50 years. and they are getting in the way of generations of students' enjoyment of poetry.

@Dschonn, you might like David Kirby. I quoted one of his poems on Brandon's photo today, but that one is an older one. These days he's writing long narrative poems, often biographical poems, usually really funny.

@mackle I like the theme day idea, though it might be a little queasy-making to see a whole screen full of Whiskeroonis making barf faces. Even if no one crosses the line into tastelessness. But I'd be in favor of trying it out.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 6:16pm -
Scrivener says:
The shot was accidental, as I said. So then as I prepared to post, I thought about @hale's comment about my captions being literary and decided for such a an ugly, accidental pic, I should post something literary to go with it. You know, just for hale. I thought to myself, "Billy Collins must have a poem about coughing somewhere" so I searched for one but couldn't find anything. But this poem came up, because of the line in the middle of the second stanza. It seemed like a fitting choice, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I just thought the idea of posting such a long poem for a caption was funny. And I liked that it is a poem about not having time to look at photos, given the nature of the Whiskerino undertaking, though in this case, Collins is addressing photos of lingerie models not of bearded fellows. And I figured that this is a poem that would appeal to many of my Whiskerooni compatriots. And I thought it was funny to post a long Billy Collins poem for @hale.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 6:22pm -
Scrivener says:
I laughed @NedKelly too.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 6:24pm -
brandon says:
This is such a funny moment captured. Our bodies are so weird looking when we can't control them.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 6:52pm -
rachel says:
ahhhh you're too deep for me tonight
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 7:10pm -
alijoon says:
There is too much reading on this page. No look.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 7:34pm -
wondermade says:
Favorite photo / caption / thread all month.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 8:11pm -
Johnny Rebellious says:
For you to take the time and energy writing that all out when knowing most people wouldn't finish reading it all makes you deserve a King Beard. You got my vote... you got my vote.
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 8:19pm -
mackle says:
@NedKelly wins
Posted: Nov 17th, 2009 - 9:30pm -
JamesC says:
i love this photo
Posted: Dec 15th, 2009 - 7:03pm -
Site closed!
Whiskerino. fin.