The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Lois Marie Harrod’s “How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth”


From Lois Marie Harrod’s chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth

Marlene Mae Thinks About Her Hair

Her own. What had been said.
She was blonde, a blonde to make a bishop
kick a hole in a stained glass window,
said Raymond Chandler when she
passed the diner. No, a suicide blonde,
dyed by her own hand, said Saul Bellow.
taking a swig of his coffee. Actually,
she was brunette, the kind gentlemen
prefer not, but marry. I’m not
offended by dumb-blonde jokes,
Dolly Parton told her in the hair salon
because I know I’m not dumb and I know
I’m not blonde. Once she had been a redhead,
but she knew she wasn’t smart enough
to get rich, so she would never be an auburn.
Under it all, she was beginning to go gray,
but not Spalding Gray gray. Spalding didn’t dye his
because he was afraid of dyeing, certainly
a gray area for one who died by his own die.
More men than you imagine die by their own hair.
Now Marlene’s father had gone bald as a Spalding baseball,
and years ago her mother would have been a blue head,
but now she was white with the righteousness of an old woman.
Raymond Chandler wouldn’t dare mention her
age. If truth is beauty, how come
you didn’t have her hair done in a library?
Lily Tomlin asked her on the bus, not understanding
that creating a truth is a tedious process,
especially a permanent truth, and what truth
is more permanent than hair.
Still beauty draws us with a single hair,
says one Pope or another, justifying no doubt
the hair of the dog that bit him. Don’t ask a barber
if you need a trim.


This selection comes from Lois Marie Harrod’s chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth, available from Dancing Girl Press! Purchase your copy here!

Lois Marie Harrod’s 13th and 14th poetry collections, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. The Only Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection of poems about teachers and teaching was published by Black Buzzard Press, 2011. Cosmogony won the 2010 Hazel Lipa Chapbook (Iowa State).  She is widely published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey. Read her work on

Leslie LaChance‘s poems have appeared in Quiddity, JMWW, the Best of the Net Anthology, Apple Valley Review, The Greensboro Review, Juked, The Birmingham Poetry Review, Slow Trains, Free Lunch, Chronogram, and Appalachian Journal. She also edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration. Her chapbook, How She Got That Way, appears in the quartet volume Mend & Hone from Toadlily Press.


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