Foggy-deep bass and exhaust chemicals:
swelling bleach in her head. Traffic-captive.
Distortion overloads the cheap speakers.
BMW 3 Series. Spoilers. Chasers. D&B.
His pride. She doesn’t care: it’s just a car.
Dark-lined eyes behind glass blacked out.
Passenger strapped in for now: she’s his
backseat babydoll. Pouting sticky lipgloss
for lollipop sucking: she keeps her fucking
mouth shut. Eyes open. Unblinking and safe,
child-locked into his metal cocoon. Prized
possession: babygirls envy her place.
Her clothes, her hair, her face – blank
like smashed High Street CCTV cams.
A high-end model. A real big man’s bitch.
They want to be her. They spit at her back
for fear and legends told in pub toilet stalls
between porcelain sniffs. She is conscience
and currency. Passed around parties, given
and spent like crumpled purple twenties.
A privilege. An achievement. An incentive.
Grumbling he revs, impotent impatience,
six cars back from the red light. Pollution
woozes every breath. He will not settle
for small-time. He’s always saying it,
his lips a ragged slice of bad-lad sneer,
knuckles getting lumpy from punching walls.
Now he’s angry: he thumps at the wheel.
Saliva flying with his rage, words erased:
just beats, bass and the bleach in her head.
At night he whimpers in their bed, grinds
his teeth on the deadlines he can’t meet.
He insists she earns her keep. She knows
someone is coming for him soon. So soon
she could be someone else. But this pity,
it’s her seatbelt too: clunk-click, every trip.
Holds her tight. Bites her neck if she moves
the wrong way. His hot hand splays a cringe
on her knee. Tranquilizer dreams sputter out
with the lighter’s snick. Hopes are only snuff.
Another cigarette burn on her thigh. At least
they hide easily. Her flesh bubbles pretty.
Outside the rush hour crawls by millimetres
on its bloody hands and knees. Scalps bowed
and shoulders down in the sighing twilight dirt.
Halogen: grey-blue-grey. Broken bollards.
Every head cold you’ve ever had. Closing in.
The amber light reprieves her for a little while.
He’s never been one to wait for the green one.