Candy Jones was five-nine. Candy Jones was five-ten. Candy Jones was six feet tall. Six-foot-four. Six-foot-seven in three-inch heels. Candy Jones was famous. Everyone knew Candy Jones, especially servicemen. Candy Jones – tall, tall, famous Candy Jones – could wear a dark wig and not be recognized by anyone. Anyone could be Candy Jones. I could be Candy Jones, and I look nothing like Candy Jones. Candy Jones looks nothing like Candy Jones. I have a friend, a professor friend. Her colleagues treat her with more respect since she started wearing three-inch heels. I never wear three-inch heels. I am five-foot-nine. I am six feet tall when I wear three-inch heels.
Harry Conover invented the Cover Girl. Candy Jones was a Cover Girl. Candy Jones’s marketing campaign was genius. Candy-striped dresses and candy-box purses and red and white cards that told Manhattan “Candy Jones Was Here.” All that candy-striped shit didn’t do a damn thing. Candy Jones was a beauty expert. Candy Jones wrote books. Candy Jones appeared often on the radio. I hate the sound of voices on the radio. Candy Jones joined Long John Nebel’s radio show. Then she ran the show alone. I can’t not listen. Then she was replaced by Larry King. The voices insist.
When Candy Jones was a child, her mother locked her in a dark closet over and over. Candy Jones was thrilled when her mother came to live with her in Manhattan. Harry Conover was Candy Jones’s first husband. He was bisexual. He was gay. Harry Conover would only come on to Candy Jones if he was drunk. Candy Jones didn’t know any better because she never dated much. Candy Jones dated Orson Welles. Orson Welles really just liked playing cards with Candy Jones’s darling mother.
As a child, Candy Jones had imaginary friends. Intelligent children often have imaginary friends. I had no imaginary friends, and my Barbies had complicated sex lives. There was always a good Barbie and a bad Barbie. Neither of their names were Barbie. There was always a good Ken and a bad Ken. Always a bad Ken. The bad Ken is necessary.
One of Candy Jones’s imaginary friends was named Arlene. Arlene was not imaginary. Arlene disappeared. Arlene stayed. The hypnotist found Arlene and brought her back. Arlene despised Candy Jones, weak, girly Candy Jones. Arlene learned to kill with a hat pin dipped in poison lipstick. Arlene learned to kill with her bare hands.
Candy Jones was never a spy. Candy Jones just carried messages to California. Candy Jones just carried messages to Asia. The messages were vitally important to national security. None of the messages mattered. Candy Jones was captured and tortured by Native Americans. Candy Jones was captured and tortured by Chinese men. No, Chinese women. No, white men in white coats. They sent her to Asia wearing a dark wig. They ran too much electric current through her thumb. They held a lighted candle to her genitals. They programmed her to kill herself in the Bahamas. What mattered was that they could.
The whole thing was a hoax, concocted by Long John Nebel for their radio show. Candy Jones, who always knew her audience, went along. The whole thing was a hoax, invented by the government to make the Soviets think that they could do everything Candy Jones claimed. Candy Jones made the whole thing up and laughed all the way to her grave. The whole thing was one all-encompassing fuck you. Fuck you, Miss Atlantic City. Fuck you, Model of the Year. Fuck you, beauty tips and interviews. Fuck you, girdles and garters and high-heeled shoes. Fuck you, lipstick and pancake makeup. Fuck you, Harry Conover. Fuck you, respectable employment. Fuck you, manners and mores. Fuck you, Mother. Fuck you, Orson Welles.
Author Discusses Poems