Jeanette Powers

No Wonder 

When the girl arrived all blonde and blue

cutely confused, dearly innocent, plausibly harmless 

and custom tailored with sailor dress and matching bows

she had that wide-eyed vulnerability only the truly 

entitled and unharmed can ever dream to display.

Of course all the animals rushed to be near her

they and she both being so curious about her.

Some came with sheep’s clothing, some came as real sheep

but all came baaa-ing and bowing to cater to her needs.

Who wouldn’t want to feed her, drink her, grow her

and show her the lay of the land, go out of their way 

to take her pristine, porcelain hand

and give her either pain or praise?

I shook my head, watching her natural force

as she broke homes with her growing ego

writing-desks and heirlooms and plumbing and kitchen

all washed away in the tide of tears she wept

over how she herself had broken things down.

What a lovely tautology, little Miss Liddell

answers her own questions, weeps over her own tantrums

and all the broken race to comfort and coddle her.

I’m not as dumb as I look, you might not know

although I’m clearly mad, because I’m here.

I like poetry; and I know which road leads out of the woods.

I’m quite unlike that moonfaced brother of mine

his rotten cantaloupe head full of wet tea-bags and dregs of wine

but us being twins, and him, ever in my care and tow

got me pigeon-holed by all the dodos 

as just another half-wit thick-headed dope.

Which isn’t the worst presumption since when people 

think you are completely without gumption

they begin to think of you as nothing more than moving furniture

and they will say just the most barbaric things in easy earshot.

They assume a blank face is a safe face.

Which is precisely why I see all the angles in this house of cards.

I laugh, as the daft do, because I recognize this girl.

Me, dumb Tweedledum, can name this absurd child: Alice of Wonderland.

Even I saw her royal predecessor do the same: take the throne from rabbit-hole

to croquet ground, the inbred horror-show of power gone mad

someone who must be forever the center of attention

however irrational, who holds their own ladder

who grows from blonde and blue and plausibly harmless

to painting the roses red and off with their heads

as quick as a rabbit who’s late for a very important date.

O, I know the signs of an incipient tyrant.

She insists the scaredy unhoused Mouse 

think about Officer Cheshire Cat

who’s always watching and always laughing

and always telling you how to act, whose bared teeth 

never quite fade away with their permanent grin 

from always having the upper hand.

She doesn’t know where she’s going, or care where she’s been.

When you don’t care where you get to, it doesn’t matter where you go.

And so all of Wonderland bumbles and fumbles and never grows

because our leaders are Queens of Hearts and Princesses Alice

and none of their affluent pampered asses have the slightest idea 

of what it means to live on the flooded streets and run from burning houses 

because of the violent whims of the upper classes.

So forgive me if I eat my oysters when they are fresh in my hand

if I ignore the royal blonde heir apparent and all her blue bowed ideas 

of how we shouldn’t talk about yesterday, because she was a different person then.

Forgive me, if I don’t think she has the right to grow at such a rapid pace

and I don’t think she should take up all the air. 


Forgive me, 

if my daydream on the bank is that me and Tweedledee 

keep our cloak of invisibility and one day, 

when no one sees us coming

we take off all their pretty heads.

Published 11-18-17

Jeanette Powers is an anarchist performance artist who uses poetry and art to question habitual behavior and to dismantle internalized obedience. She heads the generative performing arts venue, Uptown Arts Bar, and is acquisitions editor for EMP Books. She’s published a bunch of books of poetry, the latest of which is “Perfectly Good Muses” by Spartan Press and up next “Gasconade” by NightBallet Press. She is an alumni of Osage Arts Community and serves on the board for Fountainverse, an annual small press poetry fest in Kansas City, Missouri. She can most often be found near a river with her hound dog, Olly Mas.