Hot Pink Lipstick

This poem is published in the February 2012 issue of EFiction Magazine.


I have since majorly revised this and placed the revised version on my blog , my book, and in the video below, . Let me know what you think of the changes.





If you like this poem...

A revised version of it appears in my ebook book, Digging to China, available both on Kindle and as a PDF. It will soon be available as a limited edition chap book. To request a PDF or chap book, click here.

Hot Pink Lipstick


It was the first dead body I’d seen,

Waxy and soulless.

Hot pink lipstick,

I laughed at the choice.

Painted cheeks, rosy

like a doll.

Hands that held mine

stroked my hair,

prepared my dinner,

now stiff, folded

and angelic, no longer capable

of love or embrace.

Red hair dyed the day of her death,

her final living act, unknown. My grandmother

in a box lined with silk,

optimum comfort for the dead,

lips closed, unsmiling

blue eyes hiding behind shaded lids.

The sounds of moans, sobs hushed conversations,

At peace

despite my fear.





all rights reserved. Copyright Justin W. Price November 15th 2011


Thanks for Reading.

PDXKaraokeGuy, also known as Justin W. Price, is the managing editor at efiction horror. Husband to andrea, father to two dogs. writer.poet.baseball fan. tattooed. He is am amateur theologian with a rabid sweet tooth.He resides in a suburb of Portland, Oregon.He has a poetry book available for Amazon Kindle, and maintains a blog, FirstBlog. Please visit his profile page for more information. Thanks!


This was originally published on Hubpages under the name "PDXKARAOKEGUY" on the above date. He owns the copyright. It was also published in the February issue of EFiction magazine. If you are reading this anywhere else, then you are reading stolen content. Please notify the author and the thief immediately and vacate the page.

More by this Author


Comments 80 comments

PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Sue. I agree.

The way we do up dead people is disrespectful. That's why i want a viking funeral.


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Justin,

I think both versions are great but I think the revised version is better. Before my Grandma's funeral I remember my mom asking to have the makeup removed. I can't remember if they did.

Voted up and awesome.

Take care :)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks! I appreciate that. I don't publish many poems on the hub anymore, but do publish them on my blog, so be sure to follow me there!

http://pdxjpricefirstblog.blogspot.com/


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Very nice writing. Great title too. I will follow and read more. Up!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much, Midwest Jersey Girl!


MidwestJerseyGirl profile image

MidwestJerseyGirl 4 years ago from Western Suburbs of Chicago

Wow. You are obviously a gifted poet and writer. Voted up and beautiful.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

thank you so much, Flash, for the kind words!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Katrina, thank you very much!


flashmakeit profile image

flashmakeit 4 years ago from usa

Congrats you are an awesome writer to me I am glad other people notice you touching style of writing.


KatrineDalMonte 4 years ago

This is a beautiful and touching poem, very descriptive. Leaving this life with an amazing grace.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Cyndi. I'm please you enjoyed this. I may be applying some minor changes to this one before I send it off to print in my book, so, ho0pefully you'll still like it!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia

Congratulations on being chosen for efiction. The poem was definitely deserving. It was sweet, very vivid and powerful enough to evoke memories.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much, horseback. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago

II dont often think of them this way but I do ! And when I do they are very clear pictures of all that I have loved , parents , brothers , friends ....too many ....Powerful words here !


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Alberts. I just subjected this poem to a professional critique. I'm going to edit it and perhaps post some alternate versions here.


albertsj profile image

albertsj 4 years ago from Pittsfield, Ma

This is beautiful! So happy for you that you had it published. Voting up & beautiful.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for reading and following, Savanah. I'm glad you enjoyed this!


savanahl profile image

savanahl 4 years ago

What an amazing poem and congrats on getting published.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Tams. I'm glad you enjoyed this!


Tams R profile image

Tams R 4 years ago from Missouri

Beautiful and touching poem. I can see why it has been chosen.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Debby. I'm excited to get this out to a new audience!


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

I returned and reread one of your finest. Congratulations on having it published. Blessings, Debby


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you Mar. I'm glad you enjoyed this. Thanks so much for the high praise!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

thank you anonymous


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Melovy, thanks so much. your analysis means a lot to me and so does your read and comment!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Justin,

This piece, my friend, is 'worthy'. I am awestruck by the visualization you have conjured in my mind.

I could not agree with tammy more. Voted UP & AB!

This is a WINNER to me... Best of luck, mar!


anonymous 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.Interesting poem about death.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

Congrats on having your poem picked by efiction.

The contrasts in your poem are really interesting - the dead body, the doll, paleness of death and red lipstick.From the title I was expecting something entirely different - a poem about a seductive woman, so that also adds a lot to the imagery! I like the tenderness of the memories too.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

rebecca, i never viewed this as dark comedy but, after re re reading this, i guess it is. If you like dark comedy... do you read Bret Easton Ellis and/or Chuck Palahniuk?


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Rasta thank you!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Alocsin. it's nice. I haven't been published now in over a decade


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for the "wow" debbie. very cool!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

marriedwithdebt and Susan, thanks so much!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Dark comedy is my favorite genre. Love your work!


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica

Nice play of words and emotions.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I can see why efiction picked this one. Voting this Up and Awesome.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

Awesome poem...wow...love it....voted up..debbie


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Congrats on your poem to be published in EFiction Magazine.


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 4 years ago from Illinois

Great poem. Congrats on getting it published in efictionmag.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

caroline, it's so true... but not just people. Animals too. death is a strange thing. Thanks for reading and commenting!

debby, thanks for saying so. I'm glad you felt something with this poem!

alicia, it's still the only open casket I've been too. I don't really need that for closure, so, I'd rather just remember them alive.

Thank you all for reading and commenting!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I’ve seen one dead body shortly after its owner passed over, but I’m glad that there wasn’t an open casket funeral. The empty shell that remains isn’t the person. Thank you for sharing your poem and the vivid imagery that stirs up so many feelings, PDX.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Dear Justin ~ Another poem of impressions from you always stirs emotions and memories. Blessings, Debby


carolinemd21 profile image

carolinemd21 4 years ago from Close to Heaven

Great hub. The title pulled me in. Hot pink lipstick describing the artificiality of the dead. It's funny how people look so different once their soul leaves their body. Loved this. Voted up!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks you, Till. even though i was a teenager when she passed, I still had such an eery, unearthly feeling when I saw her lying there.

Ivana, thanks!

poet, thanks. It's been 15 years now so I'm quite over it, but I appreciate the sentiment, and you're read and comment!


poetvix profile image

poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

After seeing my cousin's wife and child looking like dolls at the funeral after passing in a fire, I don't view bodies anymore. I go to the services, but I refuse to look at someone I love in that state. I feel for you. You captured the look well. It's not them. It's but a painted shell. My deepest condolences for your loss.


Ivona Poyntz profile image

Ivona Poyntz 4 years ago from UK

Super poem


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

"blue eyes hiding behind shaded lids." How powerful. It truly evokes much feeling and thought knowing there is so much there in that dead body and yet it is stiff and hushed. So many thoughts and feelings go through our head when we attend the wake of someone we love, you capture them in this poem.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

carlon, wax museum is perfect. Your response sounds like a poem.... Just sayin

Tammy, Thanks! That means a lot!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 5 years ago from North Carolina

Awesome.. Another argument for creamation. You have a real gift.


Carlon Michelle profile image

Carlon Michelle 5 years ago from USA

My dad's mother was the first dead body I had ever scene too and my momma's mother's dead body was the first I had ever touched . Wax museum hard and soft with a likeness, but not. There is nothing natural about a dead body and I guess that's what creeps us out and facinates us at the same time. It is, what is no longer.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Audrey. That's a compliment coming from u!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 5 years ago from California

Beautifully done Justin.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Sue and mathira, I agree. Thanks for your comments. Oddly enough this was the only open casket funeral I've ever been too. I myself don't really want to be buried but I can certainly see the healing process of seeing their loved one dead for some. I know I don't believe my pets are gone until I actually see them in death.


Sueswan 5 years ago

Hi PDX

The first funeral I went to was for my grandmother. She didn't look peaceful. She had a frozen look of terror.

Putting make up on a dead person is creepy to me.

Voted up and awesome.


mathira profile image

mathira 5 years ago from chennai

Touching as nothing is sadder than seeing your loved one dead.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Clean Life, thank you very much. That's very kind!


the clean life profile image

the clean life 5 years ago from New Jersey Shore

Well done and beautiful. Voted up and beautiful!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Andrea, I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother but I'm glad my poem helped you out and resonated with you. Thanks for stopping by!


Andrea333 profile image

Andrea333 5 years ago

your poem also evoked many feelings in me, as it certainly has in others by all of the comments. My grandmother passed away just over a year ago and I wasn't planning on going to the open casket (held prior to the service) but I'm so glad I did. She was beautiful and peaceful. your final sentence, "at peace despite my fear" resonated with me. thank you for sharing her with us. voted up and beautiful


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Marie, what a nice and thoughtful comment to my poem. I didn't know that they no longer applied make up to corpses. That's very interesting. I'm glad this poem got you thinking. Maybe you should write a poem about your memories? I bet that would be fascinating!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

This is an astonishing clear picture of your grandmother laying in a casket. I was eleven when I saw a dead body in a casket for the first time - my great-grandmother - the picture is still clear in my mind. In fact, all the dead faces of relatives I have seen are clear in the photo-gallery of my memory to "look at" whenever I want.

One has extra-ability to store awareness and what we see and hear in the presence of Death. I believe this is nature's way to shock our urge to live back to normal as, in good times, we tend to take life for granted.

I remember my great-grandmother's long grey hair, draped around her face and on her chest. What was visible of her from the top of her head to only a few inches below her neck, was framed with her grey hair. I was amazed, because I never knew she had those hair. It was always in a tight roll at the back of the head. And I was, in the midst of sounds of grief, at peace, in spite of being in awe of a mighty, unbeatable power to be feared.

PDXKaraokeGuy, I am so surprise - this vivid poem of yours has dug this memory promptly out of the very deep depths of my mental archives.

Fortunately they don't apply make-up on corpses any longer. Those red lips and pink cheeks were absolutely ridiculous.

Voted up and astonishing.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Sunnie, thank you for comment. Indeed, death is a strange thing. The idea of being buried int he ground doesn't really appeal to me, but neither does having my body cremated. Maybe a burial at sea? Maybe I can get eaten posthumously by a great white shark? That'd be cool.

MM, thank you. The pen is my camera.

Thank you all for reading.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

This is just so different, but as always I am a big fan of your poetry and love the images you create in your words.

voting up, best wishes MM


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

HI PDX,

This was really a true account of what we may see of our loved ones..no longer looking like the one who we had known. I do not want people looking at me..With my luck they will have dyed my hair, applied make up that I hardly wear and put on my body some high heels and dress. That would mean someone would have taken my boots..No thank you!...I told me children I do not want to be looked at and want to be cremated and thrown in the ocean or over a mountain top..she said she is keeping a part of me on her counter..I told her dont you dare!

Thank goodness our body when we die is just an empty house..no one is home..

Love,

Sunnie


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

so, for some odd reason, I tried to leave a big comment- twice- and it got deleted. I'm not going to do it a third time, so I'll just sum up and say "thank you all for the thoughtful comments and reads. You make my writing worthwhile when you tell me how much you enjoy it."

Thank you all!


JinnyMarte 5 years ago

The loss of a loved one seems to be a subject that could never be clear enough to anyone, even to those who are more advanced in life and its phylosophy. I remember when my father passed away. I thought I was prepared for the time when I had to see him resting on the coffin and I was brave enough until I saw him lying there. It does hurt. But the rest of the soul has its comforts as well. At least for those who suffer.

This is a beautiful piece and I believe very heartfelt and a clear tribute to your grandmother. Thank you for sharing it. The imagery that came alive as I read your verses was vivid and so moving.

Beautiful work.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Chanroth- it was scary, but it was also intriguing. Seeing someone that you have seen alive and then seeing them not alive is a weird thing.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

OMG, This hurts. The momory of my Mother was so real in your poem. Why do they put make up on like that?, so unreal..My comment, so different from above, sorry, just made me sad..Cheers


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

The contrast between the pink lipstick, red hair and lips that no longer smile makes this poem pop. Awesome.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

I can guess you were pretty young then--very nicely done. Maybe she had a premonition and wanted to look a certain way for everyone...Justin case. =:)


Derdriu 5 years ago

PDXKaraokeGuy: What a rhythmic, philosophical, graphic poetic offering you share with us! The imagery is imaginable, and the words are provocative of loss, memory and reconciliation. It is subtly ironic that the sounds are the soulful noises of mourning for a soul which already is on its journey.

Thank you, etc.,

Derdriu


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I wonder if the inappropriate, uncharacteristic appearing makeup isn't some unspoken part of the process of closure. The state of the art of transformative make up today is obvious in movies and popular make-overs. I find it inconceivable that the importance of grieving loved ones isn't privy to the best in creating a natural looking restorative appearance rather than a garish, freakish painted face. Since the open casket, which, surprisingly to me, is still considered beneficial for closure by some, I cannot help but assume the make-up is purposeful. Otherwise, if this is not the way the person looked in life, why is this the way its done? Your poem, PDX, brilliantly captures something so notably relatable, yet seldom broached.


Scarface1300 profile image

Scarface1300 5 years ago

Despite the chilling scenario of death you presented a strange but true representation of the way most people feel when someone close to them passes. No longer the person we knew rather the shell without the warmth. It is like we are togethr but apart at the same time......

Brilliant poetry sharing vividly a view that none of us really want to see but alas it is inevitable.... Voted Up and Awesome


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Oh God! Don't give me nightmares. But yes I can say that's one super poem. By the way I never can stand the way they paint up people who have died. For me a closed casket and Beatle music playing.


jenubouka 5 years ago

Great and powerful words, I really got into the imagery of the poem. awesome.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean

What a classic, unearthly portrait of death. I'm sure your grandmother deserved it. Thanks for sharing!


raciniwa profile image

raciniwa 5 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

oh, i'm sorry to hear that...grandparents are important parts of our lives...


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

I loved your images. First you evoke fear with the dead body, hot pink lipstick gives interesting feeling and you end with 'at peace despite my fear'. Beautiful piece of work.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Sorry about your Grand-mother's death, but as always, love the poem, it brought back memories of how I felt when I viewed my own Mother's body, I went to kiss her goodbye and realized the wax image in the satin box was no-longer her.

Strangely, I found that comforting, she had moved on.


chanroth profile image

chanroth 5 years ago from California, USA

ohh...I like this poem. I was hoping the dead body look scary, but wow...cute and adorable. pink lipstick, red cheek like a doll... haha...lovin' it! I vote up and awesome!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

    Justin W. Price (PDXKaraokeGuy)742 Followers
    230 Articles

    Justin W. Price, AKA PDXKaraokeGuy, is a freelance writer, blogger, and award- nominated author based out of Portland, Oregon.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working