If Men Wore Lip Paint

by Bernard Henrie
The Writer's Block
Honorable Mention, August 2008
Judged by Tony Barnstone


I am an amateur of love,
but I will write a love poem.

I will say:

the moon is yellow as a goldfish
and big as the breast
of an opera singer.

No.

I would write about
the rich thighs of widows,
or an older woman burnished
by the meticulous night
and speaking Spanish
in loving tongue
to a younger man.

I will write for a heavy woman
sitting in an airport terminal, called
from a pasha couch in a garden,
a cumquat delicately placed
under her clothes.

Young women in summer dresses
half-hidden by a curved boat hull,
shirt fronts buttoned by men
who gaze as though saying rosary.

Rain passes into the night,
love grows old, poems fall asleep
in a chair.

Let me start again:

if men wore lip paint, breasts
and hips of women
would stain red.


This poem is a sweet, lyrical poem, and that’s nice. However, what makes it interesting is its swerves, the quick shtick of magician’s tricks, using syntax to surprise, pulling it like taffy into looping, loopy mental shapes. --Tony Barnstone

  • November 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Radium Girls
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      The Unreliable Narrator
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Birds 2
      by JJ Williamson
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      Too Late
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
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  • October 2018 Winners

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      The Emails Go Unanswered
      by Lois P. Jones
      PenShells

      Second Place

      Hidden Room
      by F.H. Lee
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      The Penitent
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      You Can Call Me a Tough Cookie, But It Really Doesn’t Matter
      by Midnight Moon
      Wild Poetry Forum