My Mother’s Obelisk Lipstick


Standing at my mother’s vanity
I, girl child with wide eyes

her self transformed nakedly
with knots and tricks towards elegance,

her hair teased to an oblong,
her neck, like Cleopatra’s, lengthened:

I eyed the miniature Obelisk
that cased her red lipstick.

Heir and standard bearer
of beauty, of glamour

from a temple at Luxor
to Place de la Concorde.

I learned in a museum recently
Dior made this emblem of Luxor – y,

raising the everyday with this nifty
piece of glass and tube of wax.

Though the lipstick wore down
and my mother passed on, she’d say,

Let it fly, trip from lip to lip, Beauty,
pass along your open secrets:
blow your kisses widely.


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6 Responses to My Mother’s Obelisk Lipstick

  1. Vladimir says:

    Bitter sweet, like everything real. And beautiful, like everything imaginable.

  2. Tom D'Evelyn says:

    Tears prick my eyes! I’m granted an image of my own mother at her dressing table! What a marvelous homage! The turn of the poem — from bedazzlement to the music of mortality—as the lipstick ‘wears down’ is beyond praise. ‘Trip from lip to lip’ reminds me of Shakespeare’s comic alchemy. But in its thingy/crunchy appetite for our shared reality it’s pure Pearlman!

    • jillbpearlman says:

      Thanks for the great comment, Tom. I’m glad we share those memories, going way back, of the woman’s dressing table! So fertile, so live, and amusing how young and open to enchantment we were!

  3. Judy Vilmain says:

    Beautiful tribute

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