Red is love, passion, anger, life, stop.
Red is the color of lipstick, lip stain, revlon, maybelline, cover girl, easy beauty. Bright red, crimson, maroon, matte and stain, paint it on your lips love, and it is instant beauty and power. You can slay the gazes of men and women alike with the color of fire, burning bright with every smile.
Red is the color of lips bitten, nervously or sensually. The inside, the outside, bitten before spoken word, during midterms and finals, out of anxiety and worry. But outside, on the side, sultry look and tilted head, teeth on lips, lips between teeth, means come hither.
Red is the color of lips kissed, softly, slowly, gently, then more pressure, more energy, more passion. Red is lips kissed, bitten, licked, sucked. Red is lips caressed by a lover, shaped to transfer passion from one to another through the touch of warm skin.
Red is skin flushed, with anger. Cheeks, neck, and ears, yelling in protest of the social injustice that pervades every current event of our lives. Red is your tongue, seen in shouts of fury at the 75 cents a woman makes to a man’s dollar, at black lives being taken for no reason other than existing, at the systematic oppression and nonexistence of quality education. Red is anger and fury at injustices seen every single day.
But red is skin flushed, with love and passion too. Cheeks blush with the words of a lover whispered in breathy tones next to your ear. Cheeks and skin flush with hands brushing skin, fingers tracing patterns, kisses painting your love story onto every inch of you. Red is passion, evident in every touch that leaves traces on skin.
Red is lights and signals, traffic lights that tell you when to drive, when to stop. Fire trucks, visible and loud, to announce their presence and to get you out of the way. Ambulances, police cars, brake lights, emergency hazards, bright and flashing. They get your attention, tell you to stop, to move out of the way, red lights that mean more to you than you realize when you drive.
Red is stop signs, octagons with white edges and letters, telling you to stop driving, to stop turning pages in your SAT booklet, to stop and wait until laws and rules tell you that you can keep going. Red is stop signs, hidden behind trees and causing car accidents. Red is stop signs on busses, keeping kids safe. Stop signs, global and universal, we know what they mean.
But sometimes, when red means stop, they don’t stop. Red lips and tongue shouting stop. Skin flushed when blood rushes into the shape of handprints. Life blood leaving through cuts and scrapes. Hands in fists, fingertips red from the pressure, nails leaving red crescents on palms. Eyes and nose red from crying and sobbing. Wrists and knees red from being held and pushed out of your control. Red skin, hurt and bleeding, fear and pain. Red mouth, shouting stop. Every single trace of red shouting stop, stop, stop. Because this is not beauty or love, this is not life and passion, this is fear and violence, life leaving with every additional trace of red on skin and flesh.
Red is love, passion, anger, life, stop. Red is hurt, fear, pain, injuries, why won’t you stop? Red is lips stained matte, tongue articulating every word of passion and fear, cheeks flushed with blood, pumped from the pulses of red heart, red arteries. Red is blood giving every aspect of life until…Stop.