Twenty years young:
mother of the year.
Devoted to a bastard son.
(On the weekends),
instead of hopping trains
she cleans hotel rooms.
Jet black bangs train-track ‘cross
Lanky arms reach out
for a taste;
Her eyes say
behind heavy lids:
‘look at how
the hummus is toasted at the top’.
Her fingertips lay
upon an olive,
she raises a hand toward mouth,
forgets to eat.
That is when her eyes suffocate.
Sun pierces them shut.
I watch her,
do the dope dance
as she wilts into her lunch.
I carry in my
an unyielding love
it breaks us
I am in love with
my broken heart
and your unfulfilled promises
She would reach her hands out in front of her
as if She was going to release all
magic from her palms
close her eyes
and i would continue to drive
in the passenger seat
twirling fingers into cursive
turning her hair into pirouettes
By: Alyssa Kimiko
When womyn utter words
they chant magic into existence
Puppy love’s melody is the Nokia ringtone
Puppy love falls asleep with the cellphone balanced on its cheek
with closed eyes
loses sense of time
dreams of you
loves in earnest
and doesn’t give a fuck about your bank account
Puppy love sneaks out of their parents house
proposes to you with a plastic ring
underneath a streetlight
Puppy love doesn’t care about politics
Puppy love gives up their most valued
to take you to the movies on Valentine’s day
Puppy love is hairy legs rubbing against one another
on top of water beds
while learning about the water
between their legs.
While puppy love dreams about
it creates a future past.
Heart so strong
I make the earth soften
I burn a candle
see the bathub
and wine glasses
hear Tom’s Diner playing in the background
there she is
playing with water
my love is immediately followed by
6:41 AM September 29th 1990
A sun rose its head
through a hospital window
Catching the glimmer of a fathers eye
Todd cast his gaze on his first born daughter
The bond was immediate
Not once did he hesitate
Nor withhold his devotion
This was purpose
This was his initiation into fatherhood
As soon as she could talk
she mimicked his walk.
crushing them beneath her feet
running over them
with tires of a jeep.
oily stained cars.
Or laying in the backyard
looking up at the stars.
From bikes to automobiles
he taught her how to navigate life.
And even stuck around
when she got lice.
Hasn’t been easy
watching his daughter turn into a teen.
Things get confusing
when a girl turns 13.
How does one reconcile
watching their daughter
drift away from his grasp?
Sometimes they wished
they could go back
to crushing cans with their jeep.
Instead crushed hearts
will make grown men weep.
He patiently watched her
separate from their bond
and it almost felt like she was gone.
She had to learn
to make her own mistakes.
Oh how long this process takes.
She would touch the stove
again and again.
Although she never forgot his lessons
and was resilient like him.
In her 20’s
she realized how much she needed her kin.
She desperately needed her dad
whenever she got sad.
Of all the lessons he taught
the biggest one she never forgot
was that no matter what
he always loved her
and that she was sure.
Nothing would ever come between them.
His wild haired girl.
What affordable Healthcare?
I spent hundreds of dollars every month to try and get treatment for chronic illness issues I had been having. The symptoms started June 29th 2016 and I am still suffering from them.
It was late Fall and I had been talking to my friend about her experience as stripper. She told me that she brought home $800.00 dollars a night. I imagined myself as her. I could visualize those hundreds in my hands and I imagined all the doctors appointments I would be able to afford. I imagined all the supplements. I imagined all the lab work. I imagined zero symptoms. I imagined a life where I got up in the morning feeling ready for the day. I fantasized about being a normal healthy 26 year old.
Give Us Answers
Jacq The Stripper instagram [If you haven’t already, check out Jacq The Stripper. She is pure comedy. In fact she’s a comedian, as well as an author, blog writer, and makes hilariously accurate cartoons. The stripper character asks the horrible eye rolling and degrading questions that we get asked everyday at work, except in a different context. The character gives you a perspective on the way our industry is misunderstood by result of assumption.]
People have asked me why I started to strip. At first I felt like I had to answer. I would tell them “Well what happened was I got sick and I couldn’t afford….” I felt like I had to justify myself. However, medical stuff aside, I quickly became intrigued with the idea of getting naked in front of strangers. Expressing my sexuality was enticing. I talked about it with my friend who did burlesque. She had some insight and encouraged me to give it a shot. Since getting sober I have missed expressing my sexuality through moving my body. I used to fire spin, you know, do the whole festival naked circus freak thing. Although I didn’t realize it then, it was an outlet for me to express my sensuality. I missed my connection to my body.
A friend told me “I’m not judging you but I could never strip for various reasons. I get the money, this country’s health care is so fucked up but expressing your sexuality, yeah I don’t buy it.“ It was interesting to me how the money was more acceptable than the expressing my sexuality. To this day I still am confused as to why dancing seductively, getting naked and displaying your beautiful nude body isn’t a form of sexual expression. I am also confused as to what is wrong with making money off of the way I expose my body. This happens every day. Musicians in music videos, sexual descriptions in books, covers of magazines, movies, even a person at the park might catch your eye and you appreciate their body. Something about adding money into the mix makes people uncomfortable I guess. I’m at a loss why and frankly I don’t care to think about it too much because I’m having way too much fun being naked with a stack of money in my purse.. but I digress.
No one ever asked me what my motive behind my job was when I was a janitor, or a nanny, a barista, or when I worked in retail. I think it was obvious then…. my motive was money…. so what’s different about this? There’s this separation because they don’t take their clothes off for money which I have no problem with. Keep your clothes on and do your job, that’s awesome. So why do you have issues around me taking off my clothes for money. Why does that make you uncomfortable?
Well let me tell you one thing honey, if I was cheap I sure as fuck wouldn’t be doing this for work. I could go back to working 60 hrs a week scrubbing toilets (a job which I absolutely loved by the way, my OCD + introversion loved making things clean and not having to talk to customers and being virtually invisible to all humans was amazing) to only barely scrape by and make my rent. I was by definition selling myself short.
I don’t say that because being a janitor wasn’t a respectable job, I say that because I was underpaid. I watched my coworkers do back breaking work, pushing 60-65 hours, getting only two days off only to return back on Monday and do it all over again. On the weekends I would catch up on sleep and errands and spend all my money on my bills with nothing extra at the end of the month. I don’t feel like that’s fair and it cheapens people’s worth on a vocational scale. Just sayin’!
What about your future?
Find a ‘real job’, finish school and get a career. Get the salary paid job with guaranteed income and a respectable badge to wear on your girl scout vest. First of all, I’m a writer and an artist. No one ever said financing your passion would be easy but it doesn’t have to be a soul killer either. Every writer I’ve met finds a way to make multiple incomes happen. Funny thing is, even if I finish school let’s look at what my income will look like.
Let’s break it down with statistics, fancy words, and visual aids shall we?
Now that’s just broken up by gender. Can you guess if we break up by gender and race? I’ll give you one guess who gets paid the least.
So if you have the privilege of having an advanced degree in college the most that you’ll make as an African American woman is $1,115 a week? What about a bachelor’s degree? $877 a week. Most places to rent in Portland are more than $877 dollars a month. This statistic doesn’t include if these women are mothers. Doesn’t include what it is that they do or how many hours they have to work to earn that money.
I would fall in between the white woman and Asian American woman, so between $1200-1500 dollars a week. And do you know how much of that income would go toward paying off my student loans? What about the availability on jobs for fiction writers? Oh and how about all the strippers out that who have master’s degrees because their jobs do not pay them enough to support themselves?
Strippers can make $1500 in one night.
One day I earned $75 dollars during one set on stage (on average it’s about 9 minutes per set) while dancing to three songs. That night I worked at my pizza delivery job and made $80 in tips for an 8 hour shift. $75 dollars in 9 minutes versus $80 in 8 hours. Not to mention I make my own schedule or that I get to be naked at my job and eat my lunch when I take a break. I decide when I take breaks. I decide who I talk to and for how long. If a customer is a fucking asshole I walk away or I call them an asshole or both. And I no longer go home smelling like pizza every night.
Titties and Doctor Bills
By December I took the plunge and starting to show strangers my butthole. And what do you know… people actually paid to see it! The other crazy thing… I actually enjoyed doing it. One titty at a time I made enough money to get seen by professionals for my health care. Kaiser doctors, get labs done, nautropaths, AK doctors, acupuncturists…. all paid for by the customers who have seen me naked.
I am grateful I have the job that I have and the income to keep myself healthy. I’m grateful I can take time off if I am sick without being in fear of losing my job. I can take days off without having to get a doctors note to prove I’m actually sick.
I have immense freedom. Being a stripper has made me feel more empowered because I’m in control. I call the shots. I’ve had guys tell me the shut the fuck up and immediately were kicked out. I’ve had guys give me a bad stare and a bad tip, also have had them kicked out. I am not in a vocation where for minimum wage I have to take your shit. Thus, I will continue to strip until I find another job that will pay me more and give me the same, if not more freedom.