Friday, 9 November 2018


Compassion Wears Protest Peach Lipstick

by Jeannie E. Roberts


After the news, cut to break, thirty seconds splash, flash
glamour, and she’s back—posing in studio before focused
lens. She had an affinity for fashion, its flair, artfulness,
though she was plagued by its fleeting nature.

Acknowledging her doubts, knowing the importance
of inner focus, she taught self-development in tandem
with commercial modeling. Besides turns, pivots, and poses,
she addressed internal beauty, the parts that blossom,

effloresce with age. What she didn’t or couldn’t prepare
her students for was the stigma, the marks that wound
a woman who models or has modeled, the blanket perceptions
that tarnish, diminish, and alienate, the comments that cause

injury: she’s vain, selfish, spoiled, stupid, a real phony.
Why would anyone want to be her friend? She’s not welcome
or invitedWe don’t want her sitting at our table or near
our husbands!

When did physical beauty become a form of disability?
Why does elegance trigger offense? How do we shift
hostile and intolerant attitudes into acceptance?
Imagine a world where comparisons didn’t exist,

where human beings had the ability to look beyond physical
appearance, to put job associations aside, had the decency
to practice kindness, inclusion, and civility . . .
After the news, cut to break, thirty seconds splash, flash

glamour, and she’s back—much older now, settling into
her map of lines and wrinkles, wearing protest peach-
colored lipstick, lifting her voice for the next generation,
compassionately speaking out for beautiful women,

hoping that they may live without the burden of bias, labels,
and the insidiousness of lookism.


* * * * *

Jeannie E. Roberts has authored four poetry collections, including The Wingspan of Things (Dancing Girl Press, 2017), Romp and Ceremony (Finishing Line Press, 2017), Beyond Bulrush (Lit Fest Press, 2015), and Nature of it All (Finishing Line Press, 2013). She is also the author and illustrator of Rhyme the Roost! A Collection of Poems and Paintings for Children (forthcoming from Daffadowndilly Press, an imprint of Kelsay Books, 2019) as well as Let's Make Faces!a children's book dedicated to her son (author-published, 2009). She is Poetry Editor of the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs and a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.