Myth: There is No Poetry in Sex Work

I just found this, I had believed it was lost. I got home from work in  1989 and had to set it down. It was an extraordinary image of that, genuinely, rarest of creatures at the time, a young, drug addicted sex worker with a pimp, but there is a twist or two.

I never saw anyone, however old or wise, able to hang on to their sense of self and ethics as long as she did in the grip of an addiction. As we talked that night she began pacing along the low wall at the corner of Burlington Road and unbeknownst to her it became a kind of flamenco. All the while I felt the hand of death more strongly than ever in my life…but I misunderstood it. There were three of us in the company, it was the woman who never even drank or smoked and was working towards getting herself through college, the one least likely to come to any kind of bad end, I would only see alive one more time.

That night we discussed our favourite flowers, hers were Freesias, so I took an armful to her funeral…

The strangest part is that the next and last time I saw her I mistook her for the flamenco dancing butterfly, until I was really quite close.

As for the butterfly…I hope she is still dancing well ahead of her own doom…if she has not vanquished it altogether. 

Beautiful proud butterfly,

Dancing and Dying

On tattered wings

Undaunted, cleaving to your children

Born, unborn

Poignant parody

Of all that should have been

Only magnificent,

Or glorious,

Or something

Almost anything

Aside of what will become

Whirling to lost hope

Laughing forlorn dreams

Head high

Eyes Flashing

Convincing shadows of former fire

Haughty flamenco

Tongue in hollow cheek

Heels tapping

Indian summer

In midwinter

Most precious

Close to the end

Dear God

I’ll miss you.

What I have just shared with you is a real excerpt from the real lives and feeling of three of the real women Rachel Moran mocks with her increasingly transparent fictions.

I was not a “happy hooker”, the people I knew did not think of themselves as “high class escorts”. They were just women making money and discharging their obligations against, sometimes, impossible odds, and they were proud, not of selling sex, but of who they were to choose to deal with their own problems that way.

Even the weakest of them was far too strong, intelligent and grounded to be traumatised by just selling sex, though some were damaged for life by the circumstances that drove them to it and kept them there.

The “rescue orgs” do not see, acknowledge and respect these women for who they really are, let alone have anything to offer them, so it is a good thing they are strong enough to find their own solutions and manage for themselves.

The devastation of their incomes through the criminalisation of clients along with all the other backhanded persecution in the “Nordic Model” is just one more grief they do not need or deserve.


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