Gold Lamé

 

Toothless ladies reign

over my Hollywood neighborhood,

holding court on street corners.

Gold lame’ and a slash of red lips,

she flicks you away like filth off skin

and barricades you from the

wreckage of her fortress.

She sits on a throne of fading glamour

and keeps watch over the tumble of

ravaged relics that house her memories.

She came to the city to be gilded

and slathered in star light,

but settled for a crown of tin with

rubies made of glass.

 

Flush

 

Lurking behind the thin

stained metal of a bathroom stall,

brazen and breathing gravel,

she waits for an audience.

I open the door to a greeting

that crackles with delight,

but the smell of her misery

crowds the room.

She steps elegantly from

behind the tin curtain and

bows to her reflection in the mirror.

Her hair is tangled and covered with despair.

She is searching for a song

that died with the starlets of Ragtime.

Lips that drip fire grasp at words

falling through blisters and cracks.

Her nose seeps with determination.

She smudges blood across her teeth

with a tremoring hand, burps,

and flushes herself down the toilet.

 

Lady Street Jesus

 

She roams my neighborhood,

filthy and silent like the dawn,

her gaze darting rapidly across alleys

and into the windows of parked cars.

She is searching for people to save.

Her fingers twist in the air like antennae,

catching splendor on the wind.

She holds them hard and fast to her lips,

as if she can taste god on her skin.

The soles of her feet press

into splinters of waste and glass,

her penance burning and

tearing at the heart of her sins.

Desperately, she raises her face to the heavens,

searching for glimmers of the divine.

She never speaks or looks into your eyes.

 


Susan Richardson is living, writing and going blind in Hollywood. Much of her work focuses on her experiences as a partially sighted woman in a sprawling urban environment.  In addition to poetry and creative non fiction, she also writes a blog called “Stories from the Edge of Blindness”.