Read Poem: Curlilocks, by Deana Ruggieri

Once upon a time there was a little girl.
On the tip-top of her head there grew a little curl.

…And another. And another. And another.

The curls kept curling; they couldn’t be contained.
Like Jack’s magic beanstalk, expanding, unrestrained.

Princess hair cascaded in the fairytales she read.
Such strands of silk looked nothing like what covered Curlilocks’ head.

“Brillo pad!” “Mop top!” the cruel kids would scold.
With only the wave of a fairy wand could she be consoled.

Sometimes tricks were played on her that made fun of her hair.
Her self-esteem was shattered at the sight she couldn’t bear.

A wad of gum thrown at her head while walking to math class.
A pencil pushed into her ‘fro, a mean kid did harass.

She cooked, she cleaned, she organized; she rearranged her room.
She bossed the girls around the block; her misery went ka-boom!

In charge was she! Control was key; she had none of her crown.
Too much time before the mirror left her feeling down.

Images surrounding her depict the perfect look.
Posters, TV, record albums; even her favorite book.

Time ticked on, the curly hair formed into a sort of nest.
It was frizzy, it was fuzzy, and quite unlike the rest.

Was this some sort of test?

A curse, a flaw, a punishment was how she viewed dark curls.
She felt she didn’t measure up to golden, long-haired girls.

Around their shoulders locks would drape like a cozy shawl.
It made her jealous, made her mad, made her want to brawl.

Assumed the worst when eyes met hers, “They’re jeering at me now!”
A dirty look she’d fire away; leave ‘em exclaiming, “Wow!”

Visible and vulnerable, self-conscious most of the time.
How long would she have to wait? Would this feeling ever decline?

Confidence was hard to muster; it’s tightly curled up in her mane.
Thinking about the times she quit; causes grief and pain.

Ballet, gymnastics, basketball. Piano and voice at noon.
Frustration, defeat so easily, expecting results too soon.

Negative thoughts were habit now; they made her stomach churn.
Aggressive, tough and full of fire; her emotions rapidly burn.

Tears, tantrums, broken glass, her temper shot up like a flare.
Mom searched high and low for help, seeing Curlilocks’ despair.

Years went by, the texture changed, specialists were needed.
Relaxers, dryers, conditioners, in cornrow her hair was beaded.

Concealing the hair is sometimes all the girl could think to do.
But most of the time she chose to hide; in her anger she did stew.

Unique she was, exotic too, so many people said.
Not to her, she didn’t see it, saw someone else instead.

Stuck in wardrobe, she sure was, for there she found such bliss.
Worth came through the clothes she wore, redemption for feeling dismissed.

Was happiness hit or miss?

The curls are on a cycle, she should follow or beware!
Shampooing and over processing may lead to very dry hair.

For moisture is the key, you see, to curls she’d finally learn.
Mist, detangle, separate or dreadlocks they will turn.

Section, comb, pick, brush or else the curl will knot.
Braid, bun, twist, cut, especially when it’s hot.

Leave-ins, serums, oils, gels, and ultra pricey cream.
Aloe, banana, avocado; plastic cap for steam.

A natural barometer her head of curls could be,
A measure of humidity, or coming rain at three.

The elements can be severe, expect this is the norm.
Fragile curls can freeze and snap! Twigs in an ice storm.

Wash ‘n Go is wishful thinking, product must come next.
The type depends on what she’s doing. Active, or at rest?

Secure the curls when on the run, particularly in the wind.
Or curls will coil, curls will shred, precisely they must be pinned.

Bands, ties, clips, barrettes, scarves and hats galore,
Always struggling with how to style, effort to get out the door.

Hood for rain, brim for sun, baseball cap for sport.
Straw for beach, felt for fall, canvas for wooded fort.

Certain days curls can’t be coaxed; they do just as they like.
An ornament? A flower perhaps. A headpiece looks just right!

The hair must be quite neat, you see, for comfort to result.
Enjoyment of life comes through her skin, others are not at fault.

Thoughts and feelings are her own, master or watch out.
Change the message inside her head, rid oneself of doubt.

Sometimes it takes others to reveal what she can’t see.
Belief in Self, built over time, constructed not easily.

Compliments from passersby while walking to the car.
The path or trail, the ladies’ room; comparison to a star.

A kind word from a stranger sends Curlilocks skipping along.
Inspired by positivity, she hums a different song.

Reinforcement is important. Repetition, key.
Find new words, rewrite the story, live life joyfully.

And then one day she caught a glimpse of someone else’s curls.
They bounced, they shined, they swung, they swayed; different from other girls.

A storefront window, a silhouette, her reflection in a bus.
A snapshot, angle, new view of things; perspective is a must!

In her eyesight can she trust?

Her hair is not inferior, as she would always judge.
It framed her face, it suited her; the bolt began to budge.

Solutions lie behind the door: accept herself once and for all.
Reinvent the girl inside. Let her out! Knock down the wall.

It isn’t about who looks at her, or what other people think.
It’s about the way she envisions herself; self-love is the missing link.

Her face, her body, her brains, her soul; the vision is shaped in her mind.
The inner forms the outer, you see, what goes out comes back, you will find.

Validation? No longer needed. Old patterns fall away.
Strength develops, willpower increases each and every day.

Happiness comes, achievements, too. Her scowl lines disappear.
For what she saw as ugly, in fact, was beauty masked by fear.

Curlilocks must grow: into her heart, into her hair.
Realize a girl’s dreams come true if she’s bold enough to dare.

And she lived happily ever after.


Author: poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.

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