The Goldilocks Complex
Before she was recast as a sweet young girl, the figure of Goldilocks was in one version of the fairy tale an old hag and in another a vixen. The disclosure of this lineage highlights the female’s transgressive behavior in the orderly house of the bears, originally all males. The title poem of Teneice Durrant Delgado’s “The Goldilocks Complex” reminds us of this and points to the quandary of a woman in late adolescence on the verge of becoming an adult: how in the face of love and marriage does she resist capitulation to the woman’s fairy-tale role in the happily ever after? Juxtaposing Goldilocks and other fairy-tale characters with contemporary figures—among them a woman who plants a transformative kiss on the speaker’s lips, a drag queen, Shakira—Delgado craftily blurs boundaries to arrest time but ultimately returns us to a world where “[t]here are endings / more satisfying than / happily ever after,” where voices can still be heard to whisper, “Bailamos.”
—Debra Kang Dean
About the Author:
Delgado earned an MFA from Spalding University in 2006 and is finishing an MA in Literature at the University of Toledo. She currently lives in Defiance, Ohio, with her husband and daughters.
Delgado's poems have appeared in The Furnace Review, PoetrySuperHighway.com, Pisgah Review, and Literary Tonic.
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Sample from The Goldilock Complex:
After our work of shuffling
between tables and kitchen, fetching
and smiling and nodding, we go out
for drinks, sit in a barely lit bar
and you dare me to smoke
your cigarette, tease
me because, I confess, I’ve never
inhaled. I take the dare because
we are drunk and your pale eyes, ringed
with mascara hold some mystery.
but instead of putting
the Marlboro to my lips, it is your own
pink mouth pushing wet smoke
past my tongue, your fingertips pressing
the back of my neck
so I can’t pull away. My lungs catch
the cloud you give me
and I cough, hard, as if breathing
for the first time.