Lights and Cards

Lights and cards,

Cards handed to strangers,

On these cards, half-clothed women,


Printed on the little cards,

Like advertisements.


Little cards,

Scattering the strip,

People stumbling over them at 3am.

Lights surrounding the people outside,

Making them feel like it’s daytime.


But in the daytime, people don’t act like this.

Out of their bodies,

Out of their minds.

Bad decisions

And black and blue bruises.


Bruises from tripping and bruises from stripping.

Legs hitting poles as men watch,

Like children watching a circus act.


Dollars in their hands given to them by tricky machines,

With a side, pull-down handle.


When the sun starts to rise,

So do questions.


Strange places,

Strange faces.


Smeared make-up on the pillow,

The dress from last night lying bedside,

Tangled motel sheets.


Downstairs, the bells of those tricky machines,

Still sounding,

Poison still being served on trays,

Whether it’s the first poison of the day,

Or last night’s binge continued.


The cycle never ends,

The machines never shut off,

The poison never runs dry.


In a few short hours,

The lights and the cards will reappear,

And the bumped legs on metal,

Will turn to black and blue bruises,

While new bumps will be made only for the same to happen,


-Caitlin Gray



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