the doll games
shelley and pamela jackson


interviews: akilah oliver

doll story: i had a doll named 'carol' that i loved and adored. i got her one christmas i think. i was about 8. we (me and my two sisters) had lots of dolls. we were the doll queens. there was something pathetic and comely about 'carol' so i loved her very much. i think she was a cheap doll or suffered some kind of vitamin deficiency because her hair soon began to fall out and eventually carol was half bald. the more i adored carol, the more my evil older sister, (we'll call her by her real name), marcia took delight in torturing poor carol, which indirectly was a way to torture me. i was a bit of a mascochist now that i think about it because i think i kind of enjoyed my victimization in a strange way...guess is gave me a kind of special visibility in the little post-divorced nuclear family there on 99th street in the triplex above the garage where we lived for two years in l.a. while my mother read miss manners and saved to buy the house where we would later move. where is this story going? (this is why i don't write fiction though i've been compiling notes and dreams for a novel which i've told myself i'll write in ny in 2001). so once marcia 'tortured' carol beyond the call of duty, actually causing one of her eyes to dislodge. i cried and cried and marcia actually felt guilty, which was rare for her. so she convinced me to steal a few quarters from my mothers purse, and with those stolen quarters we went to the local store and marcia bought for me 'now n laters', 'babe ruths', and 'licorice sticks'. i knew then marcia really loved me.

Akilah Oliver is a poet, performance artist and teacher. She is an adjunct at the writing and poetics department at Naropa University. Her book, The She Said Dialogues: Flesh Memory was published by Smokeproof Press in 1999.