Lipstick on the 211
You enjoy symbolism – balance this off your Barthes:
You are lipstick-tube traveller, sat atop
the 211 bus to penetrate a Waterloo sunset.
Once you’ve slipped through the sucrose oranges
slinking off into the darkness of a rioting night,
your feet will follow the historic path of the pissed-off
to heave your well-weighed, twice-measured, once-cut
ideology to the sky with the exuberance of a Pentecostal choir.
These protests will fall onto the ears belonging to those
who have cut off their nose to spite their face.
They will answer in, what is to you, an accented tongue,
whose sveltely rolling vowels tempted your
nail-on-chalkboard consonants enough
put two rivers & an ocean between yourself
& the bucolic-minded dialect of your peninsular hometown.
These Powers That Be will answer in polite rhetoric with a pussyfooted:
“Oh, terribly sorry…but: NO!”
But you will not be twice seduced – tempted again
by the flame that once warmed, then burned you at the steak.
Not while its tongue is down the throat of fascism
grown from your own rooting soil, full of those people
of whom you do not speak – shameful racist relatives
at holiday family gatherings who drink too much,
eat too much, then, with a yawn, pass out,
& when the ALARM BELLS ARE GOING OFF,
collectively hit the snooze button & roll over.
So you toil valiantly, scaling pedestals
without chipping your nail varnish –
chanting witchy wordplay with sexy
Machiavellian panache – until you reach
into the locus of the pathological matter at (tiny) hand,
& pull out the slimy organs & dripping tubes
found within every behemoth, & knock its
lights out – softly, with a muscular smile,
& masticate its blackened heart
between meticulously sharpened fangs.
After you have done this, you will reapply your lipstick.
Keleigh Wolf is a dissenting American poet, activist & Marxist journalist living in London. Her work is an act of cannibalism & catharsis, using witchy wordplay, gravity-defying gravitas, & pure absurdity – all housed in the lithe frame of her alternate universe. Hell hath no fury like a woman who writes verse.