Red Light District

How long will you watch me?
Through the screen as I change—
Change and I, we’re best friends
We meet for tea each Thursday.

Right now I’m on display
What a rarity! You can’t take your eyes off me.
I feel naked as a wilted flower,
Am I just one of many?

What is this taste
Is it nectar? Is it
Molded cheese? Suddenly I’m blind
And the orderlies all scampered.

Everything you don’t know about me
Can you see it right now?
Right now through the screen.
The moon peers in the window
But you shut the blinds on her.

You always want to go to the shore
Salt march, wanderlust,
But I’m more a homebody.
Like a virgin I keep to myself
And your hands wander for entrance.

Does the village know of me?
Do you know I’m a hermit?
Fresh like green apples
And bubbling soda pop.

I’m vulnerable like dust
And naïve as a bride.
We should marry now,
Now that you’ve seen me so.
Open the shades
So the moon can see too
Let the entire city see while we’re at it;
I’m shameless, and hide nothing now.

Will you not quit staring?
Bite your lip, fine thing.
Should I twirl,
Put on a show?
I hope you like what you see
Burlesque, I’m no showgirl
Certainly not cool like you,
Smooth as a cat’s tongue.
Lay it all on me:
I desire sin
But lack the effort to repent.

I don’t want love,
I only want what you have to offer me.
If it’s this, let it be this.
General admission, take a seat big guy,
You get what you pay for.

I’m no longer a diamond that can be cleaned
But bite me and you’ll see
I’m real as the stars are open
To all, but whisper to the loons.
Remain in your seat, sir,
I’ll step out onto stage soon enough
From behind the screen.

painting: “Nighthawks” (1942), Edward Hopper

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