Golden Virginia

village of labels & fonts, playing with
colognes, smelling like some popsicle disco
smelling like a male woman, rolling a cigarette
of Golden Virginia, when she stumbles past this scene
this market of fat children, hungry little Danes
the cosmetics and mirrors
she is jerked by God, a ruined puppet
wrist high and pressed like a bird near-stillborn
bound in the palsies of history’s soiled slang
Victorian remedies of braces and chains
born to a mother awash in love and fear
now she marches through it all, a grounded pterodactyl
a factory toy, hot-glued to itself
she ambles in irregular gears and her hair is crystal pink
and she wears an Exploited t-shirt, bestial Mohawk skull
on her freer wrist a spiked leather band
cherry All Star sneakers dragging
a parcel in motion
alone, though Siouxsie is with her, and Soo Catwoman
and all those carnival pigeons painted pitch and red
who shone like homemade angels under the marble eyes
of the Seraphim of London – I’ve seen them all, the great
the exquisite: they all have wings
and though her wings are skewered, her plumage is courage

girl, everyone is buying something today, or looking to buy something
with cash, or credit, or credulity, or hope
but we’re not getting anywhere
and you just set me free, though you’ll never know it
because I’m staring past you at a poster for Who Weekly
papered photos of complicated rich Americans
I have never heard of them
and you obscure them in your maimed march
mantras of self-improvement, they never stop coming
everything in sight: improving and improved
I’ll ignore this hard preaching, the call to improve
the self-help one-liners splashed around like champagne
the fretting and the expanding and the whinnying
the little useless mouths and the doubt and the excess
we all walk with who we are not
but you’ve got enough of a time of it
just walking on your own.

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