Barbara Ann

Barbara Ann, two things about you please me:

1. You arouse in me both lust and unsteadiness
2. Your name is fantastically alliterative

I met you at a school dance
In my soul, there was a frenzy of attraction

Again, I celebrate the wordplay your name inspires

I did dance with some other girls that night
Namely Peggy Sue and Betty Lou

But I found that I couldn’t scat sing their names
So I’ll stick with you, Barbara Ann

Help Me, Rhonda

Ever since the break-up, I’ve been clinically depressed
I stay out late drinking and spend all day in bed
But Rhonda, you’re a good looking lass
And I feel like you could really expedite this process

Rhonda, will you assist me
In getting over my ex?

We were engaged and everything
I would’ve been a good husband
But then she ran off with the guy from HR
And now everything sucks forever

But then, within a relatively short time span
I recovered enough to be horny again
And that’s when I noticed you, looking all cute
And I can provide you with forty reasons why

Rhonda, you should assist me
In getting over my ex

Caroline, No

Caroline, you seem to have made
Some rather major life changes
Possibly for your own betterment
But I don’t like your new haircut

You can’t be operating autonomously
Someone must have forced this on you
Because you always used to tell me
That you would never, ever change

This situation is highly distressing to me
And I find myself on the verge of tears
Your inevitable maturation is an affront
To all of us who liked you better as a girl

Will you ever again be the person I once knew?
Is there anything left to love about you?
Can I infantilize you back into adolescence?
I suppose not, not when you’re this far gone


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Painter BioHolly Painter is an MFA graduate of the University of Canterbury. She works as a writer and copy editor and lives with her partner in Singapore and Michigan. These poems are from an ongoing project to rewrite the Beach Boys’s top 40.