Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!
 
Evelyn Lau started off her writing career with Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid -a harrowing account of her years
  as a homeless teenage prostitute and junkie. She has subsequently put out 2 volumes of poetry: Oedipal Dreams
  and In the House of Slaves, and a collection of stories entitled Fresh Girls , all of which explore the dynamics
 behind abusive relationships, narcotics, and the psychological effects of the sex industry on it's workers and it's
  clients. Her work is viscerally affecting, often disturbing, highly sexual, with haunting imagery and lush prose.
                          The following poem is taken from In the House of Slaves:

                                                  Crack

                          Today you are wearing a white body marked vertically and
                        horizontally with underwear, garter belt, stockings. You move
                      unsteadily on the two black bars of your heels. A bald man sits on
                        the side of the bed and plays with spoons and baking soda and
                      cocaine. The mattress is covered in a single rough sheet the colour
                     of camelhair. It is the only sheet he owns. He protects it with a beach
                                  towel when he thinks he is ready to come.
 

                     He turned the light on the bring you the dish of cocaine, and now you
                        don't know how to turn it off. The room is swimming in a sickly
                      yellow. The plate is made of a material that won't smash no matter
                        how many times you throw it at the wall. Outside you hear cars
                      passing and then something that sounds like thunder but it can't be
                      thunder because through the blinds you can see a few mean streaks
                      of light. You know it's sunny out there, whichever street this room
                      faves. You know that out there is a familiar neighborhood, full of
                     faces you see every day lining up at the bank, posting letters, buying
                        cafe au lait or a chef's salad from the bakery across the street.
 

                       The rolled bill is wrapped several times around with elastic. The
                      powder snuffles up your nose, only a little more dense than the air
                      you normally breathe. The aftertaste cuts thin bleeding lines down
                     the back of your throat as it travels down. You massage your breasts
                        with your hands and bend over the man on the bed. He removes
                      his glasses and puts them on the bedside table where they won't be
                        accidentally crushed. From different jars and saucers he spoons
                       powder into a vial, then water; he shakes a flame under the glass
                        and burns it black and brown across the bottom. Something is
                       forming out of nothing, out of the cloudy water a nugget hardens
                      and rattles with the sound of broken china between his rhythmically
                                              shaking fingers.
 

                        Somewhere in the neighborhood there is a fire. Lights and bells
                       burble throgh the streets; doors open and close in the rest of the
                       building. He gets up to lock the bathroom and bedroom doors. He
                       shakes the last drops out of a beer can, squashes one side flat and
                       pokes ten holes into it's dented side with a bent nail. He sprinkles
                       cigarette ash over the holes and lays two cream-coloured cocaine
                     rocks on top of the bed of ashes. He touches a long, flickering flame
                      like a lecherous tongue to the rocks cuddled in their grey nest. You
                      inhale through the opening at the top of the can, from which a gold
                      bubbling beer should flow. You leave an impression of your upper
                                     lip in a ruby lipstick along it's rim.
 

                     You stand up when he lies back on the bed and closes his eyes to the
                       ceiling. You think you know that reflection in the mirrored closet
                         doors- you are somebody you have met before, maybe you sat
                     behind yourself in class a long time ago, or you are someone you saw
                       on a television show that's since been cancelled. Through brown
                     slits he watches you open your legs. Wider, he says. You gather one
                      breast up in two hands and place your own nipple into your mouth.
                                            Good girl, he says.

Home