Blondie’s day

by Rozanna Lilley

Blondie pegs Dagwood’s
self supporting stamina trousers

To the hills hoist
rotating slowly in the summer breeze

Worries that Baby Dumpling
is becoming a listless teen

That Cookie hardly ever 
eats her Oslo lunch

That their allotted pound of butter
will never last another week

Inflation may be on the rise
but systematic sunbathing is free

Sweltering, she dreams 
of Mr Beasley’s gift-wrapped knock 

Regrets her husband’s peremptory kiss
as he ran for the bus (again)

For dinner tonight they’ll have 
fried brains and a silky Spanish Cream

The leftovers wrapped in greaseproof paper
 and thoughtfully preserved in the Silent Knight 

Unplugging her flawless face 
Blondie draws the gingham curtain

Strips and slides into bed determined
to read The Naked and the Dead

Another day in the life of a 
post-flapper suburban queen

This poem reimagines the American comic strip character Blondie as an Australian housewife in 1948. Blondie was created by U.S. cartoonist Chic Young; it ran each week in the Australian pictorial magazine Pix. Blondie’s day is a fantasy that draws on the cartoon strip as well as health advice about diet and the benefits of extended sunbathing given to postwar Australian mothers. The comic strip itself can be read as simultaneously conservative in its depiction of the limited roles available to women in postwar America and subversive in its representation of Blondie as an agential and sometimes domineering figure. I hope this poem achieves a similar balance. Norman Mailer’s debut novel, The Naked and the Dead, was published in 1948. It quickly became a bestseller.

Rozanna has published creative non-fiction and poetry in national newspapers, literary journals and edited collections. Her hybrid memoir ‘Do Oysters Get Bored? A Curious Life’ (UWA Publishing, 2018) was shortlisted for the National Biography Award in 2019. A new collection of her poems titled ‘The Lady in the Bottle’, based on the 1960s TV series ‘I Dream of Jeannie’, is scheduled for publication by Eyewear in the UK later in 2021.

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