Stripped

Near Hollywood and Vine, bright neon
against dirty gray wood throbs
pink for Girls, Girls, Girls,
All Live, All Nude,
All Girls.

She paints herself with kohl, notorious
red, vixen pink under dim vanity
lights, frayed flannel bathrobe belted
tightly. Volume annihilates

thought, her form onstage a pale
ghost in spotlights; she dances
the mambo alone, waiting for some ship
to come in. Charons line dank darkness

lapping the stage, rub
their beards, sip nightshade.
They dig deep into pockets, toss
coins she’ll pay as tolls
to a promised land,

where Desire appears, arrayed
in Coco Chanel.