Hustling Verse

In this trailblazing anthology, more than fifty self-identified sex workers from all walks of the industry (survival and trade, past and present) explore their lived experience through the expressive nuance and beauty of poetry. In a variety of forms ranging from lyrics to list poems to found poetry to hybrid works, these authors express themselves with the complexity, agency, and honesty that sex workers are rarely afforded. Contributors from Canada, the US, Europe, and Asia include Gregory Scofield, Tracy Quan, Summer Wright, and Akira the Hustler. As an antidote to the invasive and often biased media depictions of sex workers, Hustling Verse is a fiercely groundbreaking exploration of intimacy, transactional sex, identity, healing, and resilience.

Lonely Men

There are these men who are so lonely they feel the need to make friends when all you want is a quick and easy business deal, these men are so pathetic that I feel sorry for them as they hold my hand and talk about their day or try to kiss or cuddle imagining I’m their wife or something, however fulfilling fantasies was what I did for drug money so I held their hands while they drove around and engaged in affectionate conversation and smoked the cigarettes they gave me and ate the food they offered me; with these kind of guys, getting tips is practically guaranteed and even better was getting them to become a regular as it’s easy money and I only had to accept the affection they gave, which was strangely harder to do than it being strictly business, these men are pretty vanilla and aren’t into pain or humiliation and are all in all pretty decent, however there are always exceptions; there are men who managed to make me feel like a nasty crack whore, leaving bruises all over my body or grabbing my hair telling me to take it down the throat and I’d better swallow what they gave cuz they’re paying good money and this goes on and on and soon they become a blur of faces; the only way I could stand it was the thought of smoking a big rock and to keep smoking it until everything faded away.

The World’s Oldest Love Spell (a Fairy Tale)

True Foxes Massage sat on the corner of 108 Avenue and Whalley Boulevard
and shared a cracked-asphalt parking lot with Triple XXX Adult Video and Toys.

The shop madam bought us quality Jergens brand lotion and Ultra Soft Kleenex®
and baked her trademark double chocolate chocolate chip cookies every Sunday.

Between noon and nine p.m. sugar was the top fragrance note overpowering all
spunk stink and this made Sunday afternoon the most coveted shift on the schedule.

We all figured Madam once turned dates herself because
who gets DD implants for her own entertainment?

I greatly favoured True Foxes over the shop owned by the failed-restaurateur-cum-pimp
in Kitsilano or the shop run by Hells Angels that burned down in a faulty electrical fire.

The only problem with True Foxes was the Surrey RCMP vehicle that often idled
in our parking lot because what date has the nerve to pull up next to a cop car?

We played premises searches right. At the sight of oncoming blues we slipped into spa
robes that covered our bodies between the neck to the top of our knees and below

the elbows. The Body Rub and Lingerie Model Studio licence hung by the front
door in a gold-gilded frame which we routinely tipped from the nail for inspection.

None of our rub rooms were smaller than a cargo van and all were brighter
than fifty candle flames. You boys think I don’t know how to run my business?

Madam—bless her golden-aged hooker mouth—never should’ve back-talked
and sure enough the Surrey RCMP doubled on us like Doomsday.

Shop will blank if they keep jamming our lot. Fucking cops, they’re eating
A&W out there. I got kids to feed. Donna was the one to call the ersatz

stakeout a curse. She pinched a ten-spot from her bra. Under the welcome
mat went Sir John A and within the hour we heard the date-doorbell chime.

Whore lore! Why hadn’t we thought of it sooner? Sup-whore-stitious!
We’d forgotten power but Madam lit the dollar store candles to call a circle.

What charm will we bring? What rue and iron? What divinity and dark?
We salt rimmed the rub rooms and hid rosemary bows under daybeds.

Turn-outs chanted, money money come to me, in abundance, three times three.
Golden-agers answered, harming none on its way, I summon money, come to me.

Coco rewrote our newspaper ad so each print line added up to numerology nine.
Cleo broke the eyes of six sewing needles. Lily tracked moon cycles. Elle set fires.

We adopted a black cat and named her Willow and for a good long spell
the only blue we saw was the midnight sky as we waved our dates goodbye.

But wind changed again when Donna came late for her shift. Officer took me
for a courtesy ride. Bruises rising below each shoulder like she’d been shook.

The following Sunday sparrow flew through the shop window and a plain-clothed
cop posing as client followed. He cuffed Cleo before she could even towel him off.

A ready-rolled raid had us stripped to our g-strings for a game of who-will-cry-first.
Our purses gutted. Phones wiped. The four corners swept by brute force.

Our stars are un-fixed. Our spring water made ill. We regrouped in the Triple XXX
amid the dildos. Madam clanged in anger and avowed, Ain’t no hex like a hooker hex.

Donna gathered graveyard dirt. Coco knotted black yarn. Cleo summoned Baal.
I came flesh-wound close then rethought cutting alms across my palm. Blood

scarification was not made for we who mete out hand jobs as a vocation.
Madam turned to her mixing bowl—butter and chocolate chips and spit.

Baneful magic is made worse when cast together. So we gathered round
the raw dough. Bitter saliva and tricks on our tongues. May their might

overturn. May they be dealt the same hand. May their rule turn to ruin.
May teeth rot from their jaws. May their seeds turn crooked and cruel.

Wait! Lily broke our incantation. I cursed my father and he went
mad. Or madder than before. He’s moved on to my baby sister now.

Lily’s right, said Cleo. I cursed my first boyfriend and he went
missing. He’s missing still. I wonder about the jerk sometimes.

Coco groaned and swigged back the ritual wine. Pussy up, witches!
Cops ought to be taught a lesson. This curse is our duty, our holy charge.

But curses don’t teach, curses harm, said Madam. And harm is hard
to contain, even for sorcery sluts like us. Think wide and wisely.

We put it to a vote before long our unanimous hands rose. The hex
was nayed. We still have charm. We can still pussy up, said Madam.

Her right hand pushed into her panties and we awed. Never before had we seen
Madam uncross her golden-aged legs. We heard polyester lace rip and slush

and then we remembered the oldest of circles. We moaned and wet-messed
in this primordial magic. The spell set as we buried our hands in raw dough.

We knead passage. We knead respect. We knead love. We knead love.
As below, so above, we knead your love. The balm of our fresh-baked blessed-

strokes and sugar blew through True Foxes’ window and across the parking lot.
Three cop cars rolled in as Madam arranged the warm cookies on a silver tray.

We joined hands as she stiletto-marched out to meet them.
Braced and silent, but chanting love behind our teeth.

Fucking for w33d

The moral of this story
is that you should never have sex
for anything other than cold hard cash.

Fucking for love or healthy relationship
will only upset you when it all goes to pieces.

Boys are dumb and
think with their balls.
They will tell you
whatever crap
you want to hear
just so they can ejaculate
in you.

Friends with benefits obliges you in unquantifiable
emotional obligation      dating another sex werker
just means you sign up to alternate being jealous
of each other’s actions from all sides
of every transaction.

Fucking for w33d is the kind of crap that weed addicts do.

dream boy

I transform for pay, the boy I become is
the boy who holds space in my dreams

bought, not                                                                     bothered
with knowing how to explain himself or
apologizing for things he cannot control

cool, calm,                                                                      collected

the ideal             rent this boy – at times
his bones ache from the pressure

that is transforming people, while               transformed

he remembers this body is medicine, curing
confused white men who think I need them

more than they                                                             need me.
how do you distinguish love from sex?

he asks, I                                                                            tell him
sex fills me up & love reminds me
it’s okay to be empty

meet me by mars

meet me by mars?
“$100 to suck you off”
meet me by mars?
“if you’re hot, sex work comes to you in concrete metropolitan cities”
meet me by mars?
the request is that I get naked immediately after the door locks
meet me by mars?
don’t comment on the apartment or the view
meet me by mars?
i say cash up front—he says dick first
where the fuck is mars?
if I had known he lived in the penthouse maybe i’d have asked for more