Theory of Lipstick

                           Coral is far more red than her lips' red …
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.