Home / Poetry / Theory Of Lipstick
Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011

Theory Of Lipstick

Google+ Pinterest Print

            for Kathy     
            Coral is far more red than her lips' red …
 Shakespeare

Pot rouge, rouge pot, glosser, lip plumper, bee
stung devil’s candy and painted porcelain
Fire and Ice, a vermillion bullet,
dangerous beauty lipstick, carmine death rub, history
of henna.  Fact: more men get lip cancer

because they don’t wear lipstick or butter,
jumble of a luminous palette with brush made
to outlast, last long, kiss off,  you ruby busser,
your gilded rose bud bluster is weapon and wine.
QE’s blend: cochineal mixed with egg, gum Arabic

and fig milk – alizarin crimson and lead – poison
to men who kiss women wearing lipstick, once illegal
and loathsome – then cherry jellybean licked and smeared,
then balm gloss crayon, a cocktail of the mouth
happy hour lip-o-hito, lip-arita, with pout-fashioned chaser


made from fruit pigment and raspberry cream,
a lux of shimmer-shine, lipstick glimmer, duo
in satin-lined pouch, Clara Bow glow: city brilliant
and country chick -- sparkling, sensual, silks
and sangria stains, those radiant tints and beeswax liberty --

oh, kiss me now, oh, double agents of beauty
slip me essential pencils in various shades
of nude and pearl and suede, oh, bombshell lipstick,
sinner and saint, venom and lotsa sugar, lip sweet,
pucker up gelato: every pink signal is a warning.


Karla Huston writes in Appleton, Wisconsin, and is the author of six chapbooks of poetry, most recently An Inventory of Lost Things, Centennial Press, 2009.  Her book, Flight Patterns won the Main Street Rag chapbook contest in 2003.  "Theory Of Lipstick" was previously published in Verse Wisconsin, Spring 2010.