Dress Code Red


Dress Code Red (December 11, 2016)


Last night, did you remove, with care,

the pashmina shawl from cedared armoire

the price tags and matching haute couture

draped at the beds’ benched ottoman, claw-footed in the main boudoir?


Did you astutely mark fast the courageous runway offerings

Not even printed in the latest magazine

which price would never render even the slightest bit obscene

transfixed and choreographed to the Paris mise-en-scene?


Imaginatively you smiled at the private, parochial matched sets

Never ruminating more beyond such glance, I would bet

Tailored and herringbone-checked, and most certainly up to spec

Soil stains perchloride-and-toluened, weekly sent to be laundered and pressed


School band trumpeters, and drummette majors in syncopated march

The airline captains and attendants in their crisp uniforms starched

The security man synchronizes surveillance cams at each and every watch

And the model looks spry as she shields her eyes from the sun at the island’s parch


At the return of the day when their work turns to play

they remove the layers personified by their wage

In the comfort of homes they replace with chenille robes

After epsoms and perfume envelop their person, jazz-notes and jasmine and Jamaican rum


But in mid-eastern homes, neither New Jersey or New Rome

the selection leaves off where desire is known

For closeted within, the choices are rather slim

And hard-pressed to determine dress, perchance, or what seems, perforce, the billowing A-line of graduation gown?


Most come in black, but occasionally come in blue

What surprise is that to match the skin and bone

It’s so easy to choose, when the choosing’s done for you

Impelling strict compliance through the vice squad of religious governance


You cannot mean to imply that freedom can abide when just women must dress thus or stay in-house

Because there is no freedom of choice, the will to refuse, or to instead choose your own rules, when the government declares your hemline must reach your toes

Related materials:

*Advisory*: Following article contains an accompanying video from the television cartoon, ‘American Dad’, containing explicitly articulated wording of male and female body parts.

Please see this article from the Clarion Project, relating the appearance of a Saudi woman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, going without her head covering, and her subsequent arrest.

Staff, The Clarion Project. “Saudi Activist Arrested For Going Without Hijab”; The Clarion Project.org; December 13, 2016:


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