"Makeup can only do so much," Marco at Bendel's said,
when I went for my wedding consultation. He would "try."
To bulk up the fairy tale aura, he glued my turquoise-and-candlelight lids
with spidery lashes, and presto! piled on a braided hair piece,
a kind of hairy challah."
That's the first stanza of "No Make up"--a signature poem in Packing Light: New and Selected Poems, 2009. (You can also find it in Circe, After Hours, 2005).
Poetry is a kind of alchemy. The poet takes the blows of life and time and shapes them, sings them as the blues, ends up in laughter.
Sometimes it takes a few decades for the transformation to occur. But in the hands of a poet, it's all gold, even the lines that initially seem to be the worst manners in the world.
And by the way, that initial makeup consultation in 1970 cost about 300 dollars. I was in my early twenties.
"And now, at sixty, I love nakedness--in my face, and lines,
and in your hands, dear reader!"
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.