by Ace Boggess

Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica,
Marianne Productions, 1968

I did enough drugs in my life to imagine
how an audience reacted in its age
to seeing naked Jane in zero-G,
then tricks of black-light paint on screen:
all that dazzle, colors in freefall,
orange & candy-apple red.
It must have been real space travel
for folks out of their heads
on rock’n’roll, free love, &
whatever else. Sure, the jokes
don’t hold up after half a century, &
the effects crew was overpaid at best.
The secret here is the heroine
who rescues no one—
too innocent for safety,
too insatiable to be murdered
in a sex machine. Attractive,
agreeable, giddy, ensorcelling—
watch her learn pleasures
of body & brain. Barbarella:
the peace crowd’s perfect warrior.
Cynical screenwriter Terry Southern,
despite his whip-crack wit,
let her heart keep beating,
although those of few who
made an appearance did,
which says enough: the way
to win a war is stay alive.


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