Strip Tease

London, 2015

standing on the platform of Piccadilly
the woman beside me flicks her Tesco
Clubcard between her French acrylics.
the man opposite me reads a newspaper,
ink coming away from the pages. beer
cans litter the exit, rusty nails poking
through the sides like Frankenstein.

where are they going? who do they
have at home waiting for them?
do they sleep at night? who are we?
we all think so much of ourselves.
you fix your hair in the rearview
mirror. I apply lipstick, brushing it
out to create that natural rose. darling,
I know you think you’re special.
you think nobody does it like you.

maybe we all do it like you, but
you don’t care to ask. you can’t
see beyond your grand perview.
we’re still standing on the platform.
you’ve crossed your arms and drank
from a water bottle, but your coughing
tells us all what you’re really drinking.
you know that, and it’s what you wanted
to happen. you cover your ears but you
want us all to hear.

half of us are damaged beyond repair
and the other half are pretending that
they’re not. it was during a midnight
stroll through South Kensington that
I realised something. mutilated are
the girls who paint themselves to
model an ideal that surpasses those
like you whose advantage is nothing
more than a drop.

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