Ellie Schoenfeld's Barbie Poems

After all of this stuff feat. Barbies, I figured I would toss out some poems by my friend Ellie Schoenfeld.  She is a native of Duluth, MN. and still resides there, doing social work, reading her poetry with music, and being an adult.  One thing that made Ellie better-known was her Barbie poems. 


One day about 20 years ago I was sitting around UMD with some friends and one friend had brought snacks – little bar cookies.  They were very tasty and when I asked her what they were called, she said “Sesame Dream Bars.”  That cracked me up because it sounded so much like a Barbie accessory but not really Barbie, maybe some alternative-minded, vegetarian relative about whom we’d never heard.  I thought maybe her name would be Aurora.  “Barbie’s Little Sister” was the first Barbie poem I wrote.  I think I wrote the rest over the next year or two.  I haven’t written a Barbie poem in about 15 years, I can’t remember exactly . 


 So, so Ellie poems that should be better known than they are:

Barbie's Little Sister

Barbie's little sister,


got sent away to reform school

when she was thirteen.

Mattel brought her back complete

with wheat germ, a VW love bus

and a recipe for sesame dream bars.

But she never caught on.

Didn't go for the vanity

table or the bubble head.

Thought Barbie was repressed

and Ken was a nerd

so she hit the road

with his cousin.

They went to demonstrations

wore love beads

and got matching tattoos.

Finally, Mattel stopped marketing her.

Didn't think she's make

a good role model.



Winona is Barbie's walleye warrior friend,

comes complete with a boat

and spearfishing equipment.

Mattel was proud of their attention

to ethnic diversity and affirmative action,

pretty pleased until they realized

she had planned to fish on ceded territory,

had a copy of an old treaty

that said she could.

Free-thinking and liberal

until they noticed Barbie organizing

a witness program and offering convertibles

to anyone with a transportation problem 

for free.

Mattel tried to get Winona 

to abrogate by offering

bendable elbows and a boyfriend

but she said 'no, thank you'

and Barbie watched

as they tried to pull Winona off the shelves.


Barbie Disappeared One Day

There was a lot of speculation

kidnap, foul-play

maybe a Jimmy Hoffa kind of thing.

The National Enquirer once linked them

in the expose

"Where dolls and mobsters meet."

Actually, she just got sick 

of the fame thing

and joined her real-life lover


who had been hiding out in Michigan

but had to move

once the tabloids found him.

Moved to Chicago

which is where Barbie found him

working as a roadie

for some of the local bands

and shooting everything

he could melt down.

Eventually the  needle found its way

to Barbie and the little known vein

that ran up her plastic arm.

And that's how they lived and loved

on the lower east side,

until they got busted

in a small-time liquor store hold-up.

Elvis escaped.

Barbie got sent downtown

where she confounded the authorities

by having no fingerprints,

aggravated the telephone operator 

by insisting

that Midge and Skipper

didn't have any last names.


Barbie Grows Armpit Hair

It was first noted

in the 7th aisle

of the Cash Is Ours  store

by Madelaine who was playing

with the demo model

and asked her mother

why Barbie had a  moustache

under her arms.

The ensuing shriek

brought all three managers-on-duty

and an off-duty medic


It all started with Belinda

who worked the night shift

in the Barbie and Friends

quality control section

of the factory.

She had worked there for years

checking countless heads

for misstamped eyes, crooked lips,

bad hair.

It was also her job

to administer a short verbal quiz

to make sure the Barbie

had right political beliefs

and Mattel family  values.

All the subversives and the socialists

were sent back.

Until one day

Belinda had been passed over

for yet another promotion

and the forman asked her

to shorten her breaks

and smile more often.

In her irritated, distrated state

she let one of the feminist Barbies

keep talking and suddenly something


Naturally it was only a matter of time

before she let through Body Hair Barbie

and Menstrual Midge,

complete with a tiny pad,

tampon, sea sponge, and ibuprofen accessories.

There was Softball Skipper

Bi-Barbie and Drag Queen Ken.


Some little boys

and some little girls

found their horizons broadened

their lives irrevocably changed

before Belinda got fired. 

Submitted by ranthe21 on Wed, 11/28/2007 - 11:05pm. ranthe21's blog | login or register to post comments | printer friendly version