Monday 9/24/2007 01:08:00 AM

When she's a hooker, she's a mean one. All stiletto heels and yeast infections. It's extra if you want her to say your name. And even more to have her sound like she means it.

When she's a clown. She's a jolly one. Carrying her foamy red nose with her wherever she goes. Swimming in circles inside those big shoes. Naming her character after the scars on her arms.

She's always a word or two away from drunk. The magistrate of sober a clockwork orange of choices. Force feed me what I love until I hate it. I'll live, but I won't recover.

When she's awake she watches them sleep. In deft surrenders that proliferate weak women. Casual manias cure the stockings from open legs.

They're born of her, but not her children. The calm politics of touch debating. What, if anything, will come after.

The certainty of strangers.

The simple acts of algebra that always prove we're still alone.

The hooker in a child's stale pajamas turning stockings into philosophy.

In the little nightmares of skin we call each other.

The clown between a woman's thighs pulling out that endless scarf.

In equations of color we say we don't see anymore.

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