Where Ugly Girls Go to Die

by Aaron Blair

All girls think there is someone beautiful
in there somewhere, hiding until
the right pressure is applied.
The twisting of the flesh makes the martyr.
We will confess to being lovely
if you torture us just so.
You'll etch the truth with diamonds
into our imperfect skin and bones
until they forget how to be flawed
and remember that you are no one
until someone looks at you
with the light of admiration
glinting off the mirrors in their eyes.
A face could launch ships
or it could stare back at you
from the surface of the water
surrounding the islands inside themselves
where all the ugly girls go to die.


Author's Note: Adam Duritz said "We all want something beautiful. I wish I was beautiful." Frank Bidart said "But my true self is thin, all profile and effortless gestures, the sort of blond elegant girl whose body is the image of her soul."

Posted on 02/21/2010
Copyright © 2024 Aaron Blair

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by V. Blake on 02/21/10 at 06:49 PM

I was immediately drawn in from the title alone, and the poem didn't disappoint. "The twisting of the flesh makes the martyr" was probably my favorite line, but that little tie-in to Helen of Troy was nice as well. :)

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 02/21/10 at 08:41 PM

Maybe I'm different, but the only thing pretty about me is my willingness to admit that I'm not pretty. I'm smart- but each day, I look in the mirror and see an aging woman. Well written. Thanks- good read!

Posted by Jim Benz on 02/21/10 at 09:44 PM

I've always thought beauty arose from self-confidence and a joyful spirit, something that always catches my eye - gives it the "light of admiration". On the other hand, "the twisting of flesh" has pretty much the oposite effect. Interesting poem Aaron.

Posted by Shonda Creemer on 02/22/10 at 03:28 AM

Brilliant piece Aaron. Slowed me dwon for a bit, made me read it more than twice. I will most definitely be adding this to my favs. Oh and I love the Counting Crows reference in the author's note...snaps it all together.

Posted by Therese Elaine on 02/23/10 at 01:54 AM

Perception of beauty is one of the things that causes a hundred little deaths and a hundred little suicides, each comparison giving rise to this idea that conventional physical attractiveness is a mark of favour...for myself, I've never thought or said I was pretty or beautiful -I am interesting looking, striking at best -and I like that. I like that I don't look like someone's 20 ex-girlfriends. I like that people remember me because I am not so homogeneous. That being said, it is hard to forget the many little scars hidden on the inside, marks of intentional and unintentional cruelties, all because we happened to be born in a time when our looks were 'less than ideal' -and thanks to advertising and pop culture and magazine models, we're never allowed to forget it. To shrug all of that off -to either embrace the ugly part of us or to exile it in favour of a more appealing outlook...that is a trick, and a little death, and a little suicide all on it's own. This is a wonderful tribute to attractiveness, perception - both external and internal, and the lineage of this most abstract of concepts...true beauty.

Posted by Amie Golda on 02/23/10 at 02:53 AM

Interesting title indeed and the poem certainly delivers such a punch to society and the concept of beauty we are left to wonder what the real gift is--beauty or ugliness? Or perhaps what is truly beautiful and truly ugly? I also love that this poem and its thought is round and not just one tracked and flat. Instead it escalates and comes back to deliver that punch with an impact. Well done.

Posted by Julie Adams on 02/24/10 at 10:20 AM

I love the brilliance of this piece, how it brings to light this Western pandemic...I truly like every line and image you conjure in this piece, but like Vince, my fav line is "The twisting of the flesh/ makes the martyr."--just resounding! I also loved the forgetting how to be flawed, the mirrored eyes, and the ship imagery, just exquisitely delivered!! This piece is definitely deserving of it's place on the top rated list, it is an instant favorite for me, peace, jewels

Posted by Nanette Bellman on 02/24/10 at 09:54 PM

There is an ugly truth in this Aaron. You hit that nail on the head pretty well. I too love that line from the Counting Crows.

Posted by Maria Terezia Ferencz on 02/28/10 at 01:25 AM

Makes one wonder. Do the blind see themselves as beautiful?

Posted by Charles M Harrison on 03/04/10 at 01:36 AM

If we all looked like supermodels what a boring world it would be. I was never thin or handsome, and still am not. But I found out a while back I like who I am, and for some strange reason my wife liked me enough to marry me. Love yourself like no one else can, and someone else will.

Posted by Johnny Crimson on 03/09/10 at 04:42 PM

I'm sorry, I didn't even read the poem. I will when I have more time. But that's a great f*&$in' title. :)

Posted by Laurie Blum on 10/13/10 at 04:11 PM

Great poem.

Posted by Meghan Helmich on 12/12/11 at 05:57 PM

Wonderful. I especially love the author's note.

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