jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


Today everyone seems so sad around their mouths. I have my headphones on and am blasting music, blasting joy through my head. This works very well, but to know if someone is speaking to me, I have to watch mouths.

The girl who should be so young and pretty, but her mouth in repose is set grimly downward, suggesting a perpetual disappointment.

The man who is appealing in an earnest John Denver round-spectacled sort of way, but his thin skin and buzzed hair reveal the ferocious clenching of the muscles in his jaw, like nervous animals they skitter and chase each other around the periphery of his face and under his scalp.

The Brighton-Beach style woman of beyond a certain age, overweight, peroxided hair, her lips collagened into a bloated limp fish's mouth.

The pulled-together smart-looking business woman who keeps working her jaw in circles like she is working over a piece of chewing gum, but she isn't, and when her face finally comes to rest she has the overshot and fearsome features of a bull dog.


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