Crush antidepressants on your tongue,
and bite your bottom lip. Some women
eat four pounds of lipstick
in their lifetimes, some websites like
to proclaim. You know not to trust
every webpage, so don’t hesitate:
twist the tube anyway.
But what I want to know is
how much I can swallow
in one night to free everyone
from chemicals and feel
the perfect pouts melt
against my lips.
It’s not a silent protest
when I spend a night
licking the lips of strangers:
drag queens, women, men
who worship Marilyn Manson.
Take as many pills as you need
if you can’t live with yourself
or what you put in your body.
Black out as I coat my face
with black and firebomb red
lipsticks, coral and silver glitter,
a touch of teal, a vaudeville cadaver
come to life. I will swallow
air, food particles, and saliva,
feel the cut from someone’s
spiked tongue ring,
feel the salt down my throat.
I will try to say, I love you all
but know that the only noise
in the crowd will be the static
of your voices, monolithic,
droning, cutting me off
before I can breathe, another
pair of tainted lips meeting mine.
Justin Holliday is a lecturer and poet. His work has appeared in Lunch Review, Bloodbond, Queen Mob's Teahouse, Vanilla Sex, and elsewhere.