(Picture courtesy of the Flickr Commons)
The Marionette Asks the Manipulator
It isn’t about the strings anymore. I am used to living with their insistent tug. I barely feel them, threaded through my articulated joints. It isn’t about my fiberglass skin, although I have often wished for something more soft and permeable. It isn’t about the positions you put me in, although I have often longed to rest my arms straight by my side.
It is about all these years I’ve smiled for you. I understand the care you took, in unhinging my jaw so that it looked natural as you clattered my teeth up and down. I know it’s easier to hide your work, when the audience is dazzled by my glossy grin. But I have lived this way for years: lips stretched over gap teeth, cheeks forced into plump position, my eyes unfortunately open.
I know that I am only a combination of chemicals, fiberglass, latex, and varnish. But just once, I would like to drop this smile. I would like to curl my lips into a frown, rest my eyebrows. Maybe even scowl, just to see how the contortion feels. I would like to click my hard lids shut and allow gravity to do its work.
I remember the day you made my face, the day you painted the final freckles on my cheeks. Even then, I wondered how long we could keep this up.
Morning writing is working for me, at least two days in a row. I may have to write a post about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.
Right before I woke up this morning, I had a really creepy dream about contracting a puppet disease, where my face would automatically curl into a smile against my will. It was very physically painful. So, this morning, after writing my 750 words, I found a picture of Howdy Doody and wrote a draft of a prose poem. In my cursory Wikipedia research, I learned that the name for a marionette puppeteer is a manipulator. I couldn’t make up a better title.