i love lipstick. i want to write an essay about the politics of lipstick. i like lipstick that’s deep, deep red. i like lipstick that’s purple, lipstick that’s black and dark for when i want to dress up my melancholy. i like sharing lipstick with sisters. and i laugh at boys that think i wear lipstick for them to notice, i laugh, lipstick is an art you can’t ever understand. from picking out a color, testing it on the inside of my wrist, pursing my lips during the application of it. i like when i kiss a baby and leave lipstick on their cheek, when you hug someone and leave lipstick on their shirt, when it gets on your teeth and you use your tongue to get it off, when you sleep in lipstick and wake up with it on your pillow case. in 1997 mama left for ethiopia to see her mama for the first time in 12 years. i was six and i cried the entire way home from the airport. and when we came home there on the kitchen table was the teacup mama had been drinking out of. at the bottom a sip of tea and black cardamom seeds. and there on the rim of the cup the lipstick imprint of my mama’s kiss.
n. to find yourself bothered by someone’s death more than you would have expected, as if you assumed they would always be part of the landscape, like a lighthouse you could pass by for years until the night it suddenly goes dark, leaving you with one less landmark to navigate by—still able to find your bearings, but feeling all that much more adrift.
The beauty and terror of the greatest of Sumerian goddesses comes through in this ancient statue. Inanna/Ishtar was at once lovely and terrible, seducing many great men and then killing them. Her unearthly white skin and glowing red eyes warn those who might answer her as she beckons with her right hand.
“It’s happened to me now, hasn’t it? But the beauty of me is that I am only a step from desperation all the time and I am one of the few people I know who could perform an act of violence with the greatest of ease.”