Red Lip Classic

Note: I deviated from my typical place-based writing this week. A friend led me to the poetry prompts from Poets & Writers, inspiring new form and function. We used this prompt:

“Beginning next week, a collection of Marilyn Monroe’s personal possessions—including handwritten notes and receipts, an address book, lipstick and cigarettes—will be displayed on a worldwide tour before being put on auction. Choose one of Monroe’s items and write a poem imagining the story behind her connection to the item. You might even want to try writing from the point of view of the inanimate object.”


I peer into the mirror
my lips.

A bit too orange:
a hue I abhor.

Unearthed from the dregs of my clutch,
this uncommon color
will never match
my hair
my brightness
my brilliance.

Is this a Norma Jeane holdover?


Lipstick doesn’t linger.

The tint is hauntingly familiar.

I’ve seen this shade before
on a face
superimposed over mine.

My eyes are obscured
by oval glasses
blocking my platinum persona
and my hair is coiffed
in a stately style.

I squint closer
and feel her skin
and hear his voice
whisper to her,
“You’re forever mine.”

I check the tube again.
“Red Lip Classic.”


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