Pole Burn: Makin’ Money, Part 2

Pole Burn is an autobiographical series based on one woman’s experience as a stripper in New York City and Miami over a period of nearly seven years. Pole Burn traces her inner and outer misadventures as she is forced to confront people’s assumptions about sex workers as well as her own perception of others and herself. The format and tone of the series were inspired by the book The Dark Fields of Venus by Basile Yanovsky, M.D. and The Consumer by Michael Gira.


Oh my god. This poor, poor guy. White guy wearing a pink polo shirt and with a boyish face. He sits in the back giving me a “thumbs up” whenever I look his way. When I get off the stage, he tips me a dollar and spends about 15 minutes telling me about how he wants to invite me over for a barbecue and private dance. I insist on Belgian chocolate with dessert. He promises to get it. He seems to get off on wasting my time describing his dream barbecue.



I was talking with a guy about all sorts of stuff. He looked like a typical happy-go-lucky sort of guy, round body and round, smiling face. We got onto the subject of politics and how much capital has been given to China and how this affects the balance of power in the world. He says, “Yeah, even the Bible says the United States…” at which point all the noise around me melted into silence as I stared at him quizzically. Do I try to correct him? Do I ask him to tell me which psalm in particular mentioned the United States of America? Oh no, I was too bewildered. I just nodded and nodded.

($2 + 1 Jack and Coke)


There is a very stout, very loud Puerto Rican bartendress who refuses to change my singles into twenties. Tonight she accidentally gave one man’s change to another and then accused a third man of stealing it, never admitting her mistake and having the third man thrown out. His tips only consisted of a cheers-like gesture with his beer anyway.



There’s this guy, a regular, who definitely piques the attention of my gaydar. I think he comes in to try and convince himself that he’s straight, but we aren’t fooled. Anyway, at least he tips, and pretty well at that. If it’s “my night,” as he’ll say, he’ll ask the bartendress to “make it rain” and shower me with 20 singles every so often.

Tonight I observed a very uncomfortable and awkward situation but no one else seemed to notice or care: we were all standing around him drinking when he shouted jokingly at the black girl who was looking a bit bored on stage: “C’mon Jiggaboo, get to work! Work the fields!”

He handed her a couple bucks and everybody laughed.