by on May 20, 2017 :: 0 comments

My bosses are men.
For seasonal minimum wage
I stand all night after my
daytime office gig
growing corns on my feet
building up that nest egg and
desperate anyway
for anything to keep busy
so I don’t have to brood
melancholy about my latest
soured romance.
No time for breaks
or vacation or illness,
no insurance offered anyway.
Across the hall
is an old ladies shop
and bubble-haired Blanche
in lilac polyester
changes the furs in the window
every other hour —
mink, chinchilla, fox,
I didn’t even know they
still sold pelage anymore,
it passes the time.
And I’m supposed to be
aggressive and
(but in a subtle way)
cottons/silks/wood-fiber rayons
at 200% markup
“they’re all natural ma’am
and would you like some tasty
Kama Sutra Oil of Love
to spice things up at home
it’s entirely edible
and isn’t it a fine day?”
But I always get the wrong reply
“Just looking.”
And I’m supposed to be
pleasant to rich
La Jolla matrons with
tanned cheeks pulled tight
below taut botox foreheads,
long strong bodies,
high inflated breasts,
chic shod feet smooth thighs
Rolex, Mercedes-Benz,
American Express,
spare time
“how much is that scarf and
don’t you ever smile?”
(as if it’s their due)
Once, while shopping
for bargains and kicks
in that Wild West
border town Tijuana
where they still sell gas,
food, water, used goods and
political agendas by
hoisting loud noisy speakers
on top of old cars,
just our friendly neighbors
to the South, and me
sitting safe in air-conditioned
station wagon
sipping iced-tea in Tupperware
came a dark-eyed girl with
dirty bare feet
popping belly-straining rusty pins
instead of buttons,
dusky cheeks,
but not from tennis,
nose smashed against window.
On hip, babe dripping snot;
where is the milk
for that dirty bottle
hanging from it’s lip?
And here, por favor
take a ten-spot for that
pack of Chiclets
you’re selling
blatantly ignoring the signs
in the Gringo Hotel
admonishing guests not to give
money to grimy children
on the street selling tokens
so they wouldn’t drop
out of school
and that’s just where
I left my smile, back in
that steamy car
as I insanely hop like a
nocturnal bird on
three-inch tooled leather
heels from Spain.

editors note:

Nothing but a smile for a grimy gal; tryin’ to make a dime where the moon don’t shine. – mh clay

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