Pole Burn: Welcome To The Jungle

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.

I strode into the bar, back straight, and headed towards the locker room smiling and feeling good. I can’t say why exactly I was feeling this way. I was on time for once, which was good but not really cause for celebration. Maybe it was because I was finally able to not be constantly tortured by a relentless stream of images which my mind produced of my ex on a tropical island with another woman, and which left me feeling like Axl Rose strapped to a chair in a straitjacket twitching violently while being forced to watch the world crumble apart on a wall of televisions.

Or maybe it was because I was starting to almost be able to consider possibly accepting the profound truth that I would never see my dear friend again — a realization which I would never be able to reach by way of logic but only through giving up in my heart center. Either way, the chaos and booze of the strip club imprinted new thoughts onto my mental continuum which were able to slowly divert the bolting train of my mind from running into a head-on collision.

There was a good vibe in the club as I walked through. I nodded hello to the faces I recognized and artfully turned away from the ones I didn’t care to acknowledge. Tim, the guy in the suit who’s good for a drink and a couple of fives reached out to grab my ass as I walked past him and his friend. In the dressing room the girls shouted, debating which top went with which bottom and whose higher paying john would most definitely show up tonight. It was a Thursday and everyone was in a party mood.

I balanced on one heel as I pulled on my comparatively modest and expensive lace thong panties. I was careful to never set a bare foot down onto the matted and stained industrial carpet. You aren’t allowed to chew gum on stage, so over the years the little wads had accumulated on the floor, piecing together a cracked bitumen layer. Like a game of Operation, I then maneuvered my other heeled foot through the opening of my panties, avoiding at all costs contact between whatever my shoes had picked up off the floor and any fabric in proximity of my vagina — or of my being in general, really.

The door flung open, nearly knocking me into a Spanish girl bent over her rice and beans takeaway. Sapphire, a petite Puerto Rican woman with huge, blonde curls and bright green eyes, burst in and announced that she was going to make so much money tonight. As I got dressed I also wondered what customers might come in to see me. I hoped it would be the hot girl with the see-through eyes.