Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts


by Nancy Devine




Way Bandy

highlighted the crests of letters

in his new name,

each a bone casting shadow

he brushed under brows of beautiful women

where it, too, became beautiful

for Cosmopolitan covers.


With sable bristles

he dusted brown powder

along Lauren Hutton’s nose for contour,

for Vogue softened the chiaroscuro

of Barbra Streisand’s jaw line,

played in Lipstick with Margaux Hemingway,

let millions see Donna Summer

happy ever after on her

“Once Upon A Time” album sleeve.


When Way Bandy

first blushed Nancy Reagan’s cheeks,

did he know there was something

in his own make-up Her president could barely say?

Before he died in a New York hospital

August 13, 1986,

Way Bandy requested

“his death be announced as AIDS-related”

that it be reported

“He was a bachelor and asked

that survivors not be identified,”

according to The Times.


On an AIDs memorial in Key West, Florida,

where he spent time,

in the center of row 2 column 13 line 4

“Way Bandy” is chiseled in stone,

the signature of his maquillage,

one reminder

how much there is to face.