Each month, the Dollhouse Architect, Kristin Garth, adds a sonnet to her digest.
Dirtiest Boys (February 2021)
White Dress / Black Dress ( March 2021)
Every Claudia Conway TikTok (January 2021)
February 23rd, 2021
Architectural Note: I wrote a poem about dirty boys today and how they have made me feel.
Dirtiest boys smell of ivory soap —
after their rockabilly shows, downstairs
will float. Babyfaces always give you hope.
Surround you inside a library. Share their
oral histories of girls in the woods.
Finger spines, dust jackets, your plaited hair.
Call you Laura Ingalls believing you’re good,
then Wednesday Addams when other boys share
an atlas of altars where you will kneel,
anatomical charts, how you will
feel, peeled free of this lace, Mary Jane heels.
A borrowable pleasure nobody steals
whimpers in bookmobiles of misanthropes.
— wash off your scent, become more anecdotes.
January 26th, 2021
Today I woke up to a new horrible development in the saga of Claudia Conway in which her mother’s Twitter account showed a picture of her sixteen year old daughter topless. I worry for Claudia Conway every day. I was in this position myself, pre days of the internet — though I must say that I wouldn’t have had her bravery if Twitter had existed. My own narcissistic abusers, also very obsessed with their image, would have gone nuclear had I exposed them publicly. It took me years and years past the experiences to do that and it feels really good but I have such admiration and also empathy for Claudia Conway because I know the desperate feelings that this abuse imbues. I wrote this today about my situation and how her Tik Toks make me feel for her and myself.
Every Claudia Conway Tik Tok
recalls my teenage years, my own panicked
fears I would not survive narcisstic
abusive “parenting.” Panoramic
view, distanced by time — right wing manic
depressive parent who vented his rage
upon a daughter legally caged until
an adult she could leave this lie he staged
in abundant square footage, daffodils.
Abused girls can be manicured, frilled and
also tortured inside their McMansions
by chandelier light — as I know firsthand.
They can do it without any cost, sanction
when their child is frightened silent like me,
pre-Twitter, Claudia Conway’s bravery.
January 14th, 2021
I’ve been deep diving into the show Servant which is presently my favorite show in the world for quite some time now. I’m writing a series of poem that explore characters and situations from the first season of the show. To sum up the plot, a woman loses her child and replaces it with a reborn doll. She believes the doll is the baby and has repressed the grief of losing her child. Everyone else in her life, though, knows the truth but maintains the illusion, in her presence, that the reborn doll is the actual infant who perished. This includes her younger brother Julian who seems on the surface (and presents himself) to be a wine-loving lothario. His sister chides him like she does her husband for being brutish and not caring and irresponsible. It’s harsh when you realize how careful both are being with this character though she has no clue.
There is a line in the show in which Julian expresses all the grief and horror he is actually dealing with — the same that his sister is repressing, and he says, “Where’s my fucking doll?” It really resonated with me as a caretaker myself for a person who died last year. There is so much you deal with you don’t feel you can speak about with anyone — simply because you are the “strongest” who has been appointed to deal with it. But you want and desire comfort too.
Where’s Your Fucking Doll?
“Where’s my fucking doll?” Julian, Servant
You will remember the rotting of meat,
the flies through plate glass, Philadelphia
heat. Rain steaming concrete as you beat
upon windows though no one appears. The
elder sister you have nurtured for years
is catatonic somewhere inside. Your
younger eyes verify what has died. Peer
into a crib, below sheers of lace, gore
you remember in lieu of a face. Grace
bequeathed by babydoll, your sister
forgets every horror she saw. Replaced
with vinyl, blue-washed veins, truth is whispered
inside dollhouse of pain, you in its thrall,
servant of delusion —where’s your fucking doll?
December 17th, 2020
This sonnet is inspired by a bedtime story told me to once.
You wait until the husband sleeps, behind their
cottage, upon taloned feet. Full moon
illuminates a marital bed. Prayers
evanesce. Flesh is led where you commune
in forest deep after chase, rosy cheek,
the neediness and nymphish hands, savage
ceremonies of which she shall not speak.
Since first she happened upon your sabbath
Saturnalia rites, the glistening tongues
and clefts opened by firelight offered to
you, fallen king. Around your legs, she hung
and offered everything. With retinue,
you summon her every full moon night
to satiate a herd of appetites.
The Dollhouse Architect’s Digest is a space where the dollhouse architect will clear her mind in sonnet and other poetry forms every once in a while.
November 22, 2020
Architectural Note: So this week there amidst all the other craziness of the news, there was a report that the Pope had liked the instagram of an erotic voluptuous model in a catholic schoolgirl skirt. It’s been on my mind because once in my days of stripping I table danced for a Catholic priest in the collar, while I was too a voluptuous girl in a catholic schoolgirl skirt. I have so many issues with religion because I was molested inside of a religious community and really have little trust for its holy men and institutions. It was a wild experience. This week I said to a person, in an unrelated conversation, “I never was going to heaven.” The confluence of these two things inspired this very sacrilegious sonnet on a Sunday.
She Never Was Going To Heaven
She never was going to heaven though
she genuflected as if in prayer.
She dirtied white cotton kneesocks, aglow
in blacklight like her Barbie underwear.
She only prayed in neon, cigar smoke
in the stale air, on a phallic altar
with ribbons in her hair, plaid bespoke
for strippers, before Father, Roman collared,
a hundred dollars in his hand. Confessed
with flesh before him though she understands
she never is going to Heaven, not blessed
by the erection of this holy man.
She is rentable, unforgivable and
irredeemable by venerated hands.
October 22, 2020
Architectural Note: Gilda Sheen has been telling me her story for a while now, and for a long time it’s been a story about being trapped and being defined in someone else’s world — a man’s world, a human world. It’s a story about being the other in all of this but finally — having been pushed by some knowledge about how her reproductivity will even be dictated to her in the environment of the Girlarium, she’s newly inspired to escape this place and dry land altogether. I definitely think this story is inspired by my own watching of the Supreme Court appointment of Amy Coney Barrett and the way that politicians are conspiring to take away reproductive rights from women — while we watch. Gild Sheen isn’t just floating around, waiting for it anymore — no matter how gilded a tank she floats inside. This is The Last Bedtime Story.
September 23, 2020
Architectural Note: I’ve been through a storm quite literally in the last week, but I’m making a real effort to not only get my literal house in order but my literary world too. So I’m back to my projects including Girlarium. This is a new sonnet about the continued harassment of Gilda Sheen by the CIA operative. This is the instance that makes her realize if she doesn’t want to be taken into government custody she must escape and she decides to trust Mr. Youmans and escape.
Architectural Note: I started a whimsical project writing with my poem a day group and it’s called Girlarium. It’s about a high school girl named Gilda Sheen who has developed gills. She’s a competitive swimmer and of course this makes her better. Sue even sets a national record as this sonnet in magazine story details. But getting national attention puts her on the radar of some sinister people.
Architectural Note: I offer a content warning on the poem below for a variety of things — bdsm elements like knife play and degradation, and other triggering things like victim shaming. This is a poem about the dark side of myself that has sought out abuse because I wanted intimacy and approval of a father figure, and I did things that made me feel worse because I hoped to prove something ??? and find better. This is a sad poem about the dark side of me that found herself in these dynamics too often and wanted something I was never going to get because the men I did these things with had a lot of boundaries that I would never break through, and yet I persisted. Thanks for letting me say this out loud about myself. (August 25th, 2020)
a stranger with candy on a telephone
the less you know of girls, the easier
to pretend they are of sound mind when one
takes the sharp end of a knife inside her
while, you play, say it’s her fault — what someone
else did, a sexual assault — daddy
who makes her want to die. it is your kink
to make her cry. a stranger with candy
on a telephone — twenty minutes she thinks
she’s not alone. someone who would seek her
again and again almost qualifies,
after a while, as a friend to bother
some nights, a clinging child — comfort, advice —
boundaries she is not nice to subvert —
less you know, easier she is to hurt.
Architectural Note: I’m almost finished writing Crow Carriage poetry and then I go into months of writing footnotes that fill out the horror of this novel. I only have two sonnets left to write for Crow Carriage about the secret society that forms in the denouement of this tale. This sonnet is the seed of that association.
This Is How We Leave Tonight
This is where we rub our eyes and stiffen
as we realize this colossal crow
is no nightmare. Dancer, in smoke, ribboned
there pirouetting above blood below
was once a girl we did know. Brought here by
the corpse they surround — a deceased doctor
splayed on the ground. This is when we will try
to stand — the weaker taken by the hand. Form
a secret society of the female,
feathered, phantasmagory. Black tapers
in trembling hands, we follow a smoky trail
without command towards carriage feathered,
familiar to all; horses rear affright
inside stalls. This is how we leave tonight.
Architectural Note: I was asked to be a part of the Shadow Whisperers show on Gadget G Radio today with an excerpt from Crow Carriage my poetic horror novel. I decided to read a brand new sonnet I just wrote about pecking out eyeballs when you are a girl who is becoming a crow — with a lot of terrible people with which to contend. I thought I’d publish it here since I read it for the show. (July 15th, 2020)
As you unblock a bedroom door, bereft
two thumbs you had before, an animal
appetite you must soon sate makes you deft
more than any hate. Empty mandible
you grind discrete, as you stalk upon two
taloned feet, timidly toward a room of beds
where a flock of maidens lay their heads.
You remember guardian ghost, mouth dripped red,
you feared foremost, more than he who led all
here, accomplices, the disappeared. What
would bleed might blink an exquisite eyeball
— novel craving not for what would crawl but
a delicacy you would never think
you would be peckish for before the beak.
Architectural Note: I wrote the following sonnet as an “Afterpoemmint” to my Hot Chocolate tale in Golden Ticket. Hot Chocolate is the story of Anise, a deceivingly sweet looking stripper who blackmails Arthur Slugworth, Wonka’s competitor candyman, for a job. It’s not long before she causes Slugworth a lot of trouble, and he realizes that as he has been needing a spy that could get to Wonka’s secrets, this sticky fingered girl who smells like licorice would be perfect. Hot Chocolate is the tiny tale of her seduction of Willy Wonka. I wrote the Afterpoemint to explain my own history not only with stripping but actually a little Wonka bit of trivia related to my topless years. (July 7th, 2020)
I Want The Golden Ticket, Daddy
I never think I am Veruca Salt.
My daddy issues aren’t my fault. I braid
them into my long chestnut hair. Exalt
your shadows in my underwear. Parade
my desperation on a strip club stage with
a pout, sometimes a rage that customers
should not see when you work in a service
industry. And though we are all hustlers
here, I want to be innocent as I appear
in Catholic schoolgirl skirt with pleading eyes,
the best of you between my thighs. It’s clear
the DJ knows, delivers her most famous line:
“I want the Golden Ticket, Daddy” when
I bare my flesh and soul to businessmen.
A drawing of the Dollhouse Architect by the one and only Amy Suzanne, the illustrator of Golden Ticket.
Architectural Note: I’ve had friends who have been plagiarized by people and have had that misfortune myself. I’ve also had a person who I admired very much call me “a factory” about my output, and I know it wasn’t meant in a mean way, but it bothered me. Since I’m writing a poetry collection about a chocolate factory, Willy Wonka’s who is the victim of industrial spies and people who don’t want to do their own work, I decided to embrace the “factory” label in this poem — to embody his factory. Because here’s the thing — I love to work! And in that way I am a factory. I also believe that being very diligent and productive adds to your artistry. I have very stringent conditions i work under and maintain. And I feel that when someone steals a bit of me, they ultimately rob themselves of the chance of becoming better. The productivity, the innovation is what makes you a better writer. So I wrote a poem about all of this. (June 25th, 2020)
When your emissions waft delicate smoke
hot chocolate scent that comforts most folks, some
will choke on jealousy. Purloin crumbs of
imaginary upside-down bubblegum
buoyant cake never tasted, don’t know how
to make its blush balloons inflate between
peach gummy rings. Milk required comes from cows
who sing arioso for a year, cud emerald green
you engineered. Artistic conditions
a lifetime you make, the end, invention
some stranger might take for recognition
when the reward itself is innovation.
Productivity begets artistry.
They only see you as a factory.
Architectural Note: I’ve written a lot about female competitiveness. Social media can feed that fire in a danger way with how easy it is to compare followers, likes on tweets et cetera. I decided to write a little piece based on Snow White and the Evil Queen — though in this case the magic mirror she uses to quantitate her comparative fairness is social media. (June 19th, 2020)
Like The Fairest
a social media cautionary fairy tale
A modern queen has need of no magic
mirror just smart telephone with an app
that quantifies how well she is known with
emoji hearts, profile pictures she can tap
of any fairer competitors on
her digital map. She can scroll her feed
for lookalikes, the checkmarked echelons,
too many likes. If she were to see
her hunter’s approval mark below a
selfied heart-shaped birthmark, there then would be
the primeval scream — Brothers Grimm portrayed
such schemes before computers or tv.
Removing hearts to spite a fairer face
is bloodless, cancellation, in cyberspace.
Architectural Note: I wrote this sonnet last night for Crow Carriage, a poetic novel I’m writing and Amy Suzanne is illustrating. This sonnet takes place when The Mistress of Malice has been relegated to the basement after her betrayal of the evil nobleman Doctor by spying on his terrible experiment upstairs. For her betrayal, she has been left in a rat-infested basement ona bare mattress. When the woman who had been her lady’s maid upstairs comes to check on what she hopes to be a humbled prisoner, she finds the girl asleep amidst a room of dead, half-eaten rats. Afraid of what sort of sorceress the girl must be, the maid attacks what she does not understand. (May 29th, 2020)
Murder Then Repast By Candlelight
A trembling hand you offer him, raindrops
and lightning as you would descend out of
his carriage and into his house. Arm propped
by balustrade, pale nightgown doused, above
a lady is waiting to escort you in
a heavy oak door. Elegant grin though
you have no notion what for — she spins
you like ribbon is tied round your head. Shows
you to a chamber, a flocculent bed,
a gown atop bed clothes, same shade red as
what ebbed from exsanguinated, dead
relations tonight. Murder then repast
by candlelight is veal for two she prepared
before laudanum milk for others upstairs.
June 5, 2020
A Little Girl Who Does Not Deign To Die
Inside a massacre in black, what will
luminesce between crack of basement door
is thunderbolt animating eyes, shuttered, still
while you lie amidst inert mischief, floor
of infinitesimal gore. What invades
as more light pours down your staircase,
presents a frightful female face — once maid
now mistress within this forsaken place.
What scurries over furry backs, half devoured,
(all collapsed) corpses crunched beneath a laced
up boot will fall upon you like a brute.
Servile fingers wrap about a neck, wait
no more, circumspect, on the disrepute
recipient of some noblesse oblige —
a little girl who does not deign to die.
Architectural Note: This first poem is something I felt after watching Tiger King and feeling for Travis Maldonado, who I related to as a person who suffered from sexual and other addictions. Welcome to my diary in sonnets. (May 11th, 2020)
I Never Fucked A Tiger King
for Travis Maldonado
but once almost a Smoothie King I met
on cocaine at a rave one night. Said I
wouldn’t but I knew I might. I had let
his kind inside before who offered lines
even one who called me a whore to the
entire population of our punk rock bar. Was
not there but word travels far in itty
bitty southern towns of Wednesday Addams
fleshlights in skintight velvet gowns who would
swallow anything they had found. I know I am
no different than a teenager who put
on a ring, by methamphetamines damned
to wed Tiger Kings, lives we can’t abide.
I too fucked men who made me want to die.