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After the Former Model's TED Talk
Words by Colleen Foster
Image by Claudio Parentela
Microphone in hand and still undropped
--the point's still being made, like an Estée Lauder mascara pencil
manually sharped over the trash can into wooden curls--
The postcard sent in her YouTube sermon was a challenge to
the image, likeness, resemblance, an analytical RSVP to the invitation
to lean so far over the reflection
like Narcissus en masse,
the nameless, faceless, "they,"
that and each of our elected plus-ones fall
into ourselves with a splash.
It's an old topic, worn threadbare like a hand-me-down designer gown,
raging feminists and social commentary,
but we revisit it nonetheless.
The juxtaposition positions her to
beHOLD but not be HELD
because it is in vogue to be rumpled in Vogue
with glass disturbed, perturbed
by the Mona Lisa smile with legs longer than a gazelle’s
that could kick a soccer ball, slip into a sleeping bag,
but really, could we give in,
could we shake our less-shiny heads and admit that this Dorian Gray
is actually a little girl who would rather be touched than retouched?
It is not a sin, original or otherwise--quite unoriginal, actually--
but we’ve bitten the apple and we want a landscape,
a body to be our 2-D Garden of Eden before the
pore-pocked business of
being human gets us kicked out and
we’re forced to sit on a pile of discarded magazines
with pages so polished we slip ‘n slide down to the floor and have to
redefine how beautiful we feel because it cannot be stagnant.
It is required that something smudges, it is crucial that a mascara’d eyelash
fall to the floor like a striking, vibrantly dead leaf in autumn.
Beauty cannot be shellacked into submission,
but needs to breathe and burp and shimmer.