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.