Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The “Super Song Star” KTV was in an alley behind a non-descript block of stores near a busy shopping street in Guangzhou’s Panyu District.
Inside the narrow, grayish concrete building, most every room looked the same. A 50’ inch flat screen TV was mounted to the wall in the middle and there was a 17’ inch touch screen computer next to it for selecting songs.
A faux leather couch was parallel to the TV and another was perpendicular to it. A small coffee table for drinks, ashtrays, and cordless microphones sat in between the couches. All the rooms were dimly lit and always smelled strongly of cigarette smoke, even when nobody was smoking in them.
Framed posters for Chinese beer and mobile phones, featuring Jackie Chan and smiling, sleek young women adorned each room’s walls…
The shifty-eyed man who conducted the interview, a tallish, skinny fellow with a crew cut and tattoo on his neck, who wasn’t much older than them, offered the girls the job after only asking a few questions, which were: “Are you single? How old are you? Do you have kids? Can you work any evening of the week?”
Ying and Di accepted the job; quit the factory, and both moved in with Ying’s cousin, for the time being.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Rong Ying was the prettiest girl in Wanshan, a tiny, impoverished village, in a northern province of China.
Like so many girls in Wanshan, as soon as she turned eighteen she bought a third class train ticket to Guangdong Province, in the south of China, to search for work. Many from her village who’d gone down there had made enough to live well and also send money home to their families.
Upon arrival, Ying’s cousin, who’d gone south to Guangdong seven years prior, let Ying stay over at the cramped eighth floor one bedroom walk-up she shared with her husband, her husband’s mother, and the baby girl they didn’t have.
After a couple weeks of job hunting, Ying found work in a factory in Dongguan assembling iPhones. There she worked twelve hour shifts, with only two twenty minute breaks. All additional breaks, including toilet breaks, were timed to the second. Anyone on break too often or for too long was terminated.
Ying lived at the factory in a dorm room with five other girls. They slept in bunk beds wrapped in mosquito netting, washed their clothes by hand, and had an 11PM curfew every night of the week. At 11:30PM the factory shut off all the dorm rooms’ electricity until morning.
At the factory Ying met another pretty girl named Qwai Di. Di spoke of how her friend was working at a KTV (karaoke bar) and making ten times what the two of them made per month at the factory.
But what exactly did the work involve? Ying queried, as she and Di stabbed chopsticks into plates of spicy noodles during break.
Di said they’d provide company and drink with the KTV’s male customers, and every so often the men, usually businessmen in their 30’s and 40’s, would tip them extra for favors, Di said, hesitantly but not ashamedly.
Ying knew what this meant. She wasn’t completely naïve. She also wasn’t a virgin, having had sex with her high school boyfriend, which was part of the reason she’d left her hometown.
(The two of them had discussed marriage, but after they’d had sex, he’d quickly broken it off with her, saying that he couldn’t be with someone who’d have sex before marriage. Heartbroken, and having lost her precious commodity of virginity, she’d decided to go south for work.)
Looking down at the callouses and blisters blotting her once soft hands, and thinking of their floor boss, that fat little middle aged woman with the terrible acne who screamed in Cantonese at all the workers, especially the pretty girls, but mostly thinking of the money she could send to her family, Ying made a snap decision…
She decided to join Di on their day off and apply for a job at the KTV.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
He eats me whole
No fear of dirt
I live in deodorant commercials with whistling bars of soap
and romps through wheat fields in crisp white maxi pads
He doesn’t mind grit
Washes his hands in mud puddles
he likes to leave my smell on for days
Inhale it when the shower’s water hits him
makes him hard
Is that bad?
I imagine my worst homeless funk and think
a feral love
gamey and raw.
was too small
it ripped up the slit in the back
a straight line up my ass crack.
Red and shiny
It was all that I coveted.
Could have been worn to a prom
if my boobs weren’t falling out.
My aunt hid it with my boosted bottles of booze
when the cops brought me home.
I stole it from Macy’s.
Wore it on New Years
it was nowhere near big enough
halfway through the drunken night
my ass was out.
Larger than life
I sometimes stuffed too small shoes
let the back of my feet hang over
In three colors
the only colors I wore
black, white and red.
A drug dealer friend paid for the limo
told us to a choose a restaurant.
We saved him money by stealing the drink
did lines in the bathroom
my boobs and ass peekabooing on both ends.
The red shiny material useless uncomfortable
ended up in the trash
and I wished I’d worn something my size.