Union Square nine hours beneath fifteen foot model in pink bra
and panties. I too departmentalize allure: tent an eyebrow,
don't toggle the knee, feet sure of the earth and arms circular
in warmth. Welcoming. Dialects clink past my labor
of so many grinned teeth that my ears might touch
and the voice, once tottering, now embodies me in the tilted grin
of prospect. Extend a hand. Something witty.
The real trick's to pinpoint their loves with peripheral items,
a me too, tell me, or rear–guard wink—mugging
loose around the obvious: you are a professional stranger.
You don't sell morality, or even yourself. You sell them
them, unfolding the color of their organs like reversed origami.
First lesson's self-image precedes benevolence, so you flirt
round bellies from a shopping bag's grip, or proto–pal,
pen already in hand. You never lead on hookworms veining
between bare toes, nor those who vomit and shit themselves
to death, water in and out, nor micro–loans for women,
a school desk, children trafficked for less than used bicycles
or how towns wink at rape or barrels longer than forearms.
Don't say the truth. Don't say, this is no accident.
That we desire our mercy sold us amidst the common sense
of dumpsters filled past wants and clouds with need.
Sell them them. Only then say poverty spines mannequin straight
and tally each kneejerk excuse with those well-worn snaps.
Be honest: You will lie any lie for account
because of ends or means or pride. This them and us. This you.
The righteous lust for numbers. But within you know
your guilt is as complicit as theirs. Greater, even, in its detachment.
Camelot, Strip Club
Three Indians in suits, and I the visitor.
One, focal–point drunk, adjusts his pagri
and leans. His name is Honey, like every patron:
his nose tied to silver over 12 dollar bourbon,
friend nudging his rib, thigh size and breasts.
Before a wall–length mirror the pole slicks
like the cold end of a syringe, gender drawn
with one line—no pubic hair, soft yellow light.
Across the room an old man whistles. What else
to do? Not also strip naked, nipple for nipple,
naming one another's underhand freckles
(still in socks). Merely this loud silence for crumbs.
Honey points with finger brown as pine,
rooted in seat. Just another waiting distance:
the stripper's lackluster gaze when bending to claim
her spoils; how the next girl cleans the mirror in the wait.